Osteoarthritis (OA) has viewed traditionally as a highly -prevalent; but generally, mild condition explained in part by universal evidence of “radiographic OA ” with aging, which frequently is asymptomatic. Even some patients being treated for OA in a rheumatology setting described OA in focus groups “as part of a normal aging process requiring acceptance; not treatment What do you expect? You are just getting older”.
Nonetheless, many reports indicate that OA patients are by rheumatologists often may have severe disease; with substantial morbidity, costs, and premature mortality. Furthermore, the prevalence of OA is increasing; with an aging population; high rates of obesity, and additional explanatory variables.

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) has traditionally viewed as a highly prevalent but milder condition when compared with rheumatoid arthritis (RA); some may believe that it is part of a normal aging process requiring acceptance, not treatment. A new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology indicates that OA and RA have similar impacts or burdens on patients when they first visit rheumatologists, however.

Also, after treatment, OA was with a higher burden of disease than RA; indicating that treatment leads to significant improvements in patients with RA compared with those with OA. The study included 149 patients with OA and 203 patients with RA who completed a health assessment questionnaire at multiple visits.

“This new information may have important implications for public health and control of healthcare costs. Osteoarthritis is one of the three most common health conditions in the US population; at least 20 times more common than rheumatoid arthritis, and has estimated to involve costs of 1 % of the gross domestic product,” said senior author Dr. Theodore Pincus. “The results appear to indicate an urgent need for improved treatments and strategies for prevention of osteoarthritis.”

Cross-sectional observational studies

This report extends and clarifies previous cross-sectional observational studies and one small 2-month longitudinal study concerning a similar or greater disease burden in OA vs RA patients (14-16, 23). The burden of disease according to patient self
-report MDHAQ/RAPID3 scores appear to similar in OA to RA at an initial visit to one academic rheumatology setting; regardless of prior therapy or whether the patient was a physician -referred or self-referred.
Improvement in RAPID3 and other MDHAQ scores was in all3 patient groups over 6 months, in general, greatest in “DMARD -naïve RA” patients, intermediate in “prior – Accepted Article This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. DMARD RA” RA patients, and least in OA, reflecting superior treatments for RA, and resulting in a significantly greater disease burden in OA compared to RA.