Projections for the rising global burden of osteoarthritis

02/04/2024

Introduction

Osteoarthritis (OA) is known to be the most prevalent form of arthritis and one of the main reasons for adult chronic pain globally. This study offers an analysis of the global, regional and national burden of OA in the previous 30 years and a prediction of expected changes for the next 30 years.

Synthesis – key messages

  • In 2020, 7.6% of the global population suffered from any kind of OA.
  • Cases of all types of OA are expected to increase in all regions in the following 30 years.
  • High BMI is considered a major risk factor, as, in 2020, it accounted for approximately 1 in 5 cases of OA, based on global, age-standardised population data
  • This study projects an increase between 48.6% and 95.1% for OA of different sites by 2050.

Details of the study

“Global, regional, and national burden of osteoarthritis, 1990-2020 and projections to 2050: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021 – GBD 2021 Osteoarthritis Collaborators”(1)

Methods

Using population-based survey available data from locations worldwide (26 countries for knee osteoarthritis, 23 countries for hip osteoarthritis, 42 countries for hand osteoarthritis) OA prevalence was estimated at global, regional (21 regions) and national (204 countries) level. The reference definition in this model was established using positive radiographical diagnosis for symptomatic knee, hip or hand OA (including any hand joint). Regression models were used in cases where alternative OA definitions had been used in the published literature. A systematic review on studies reporting causal criteria for OA has been performed to identify relevant risk factors.

Main results

  • 4.8% of the global population suffered from any kind of OA in 1990, compared with 7.6% in 2020.
  • Global, age-standardized rate of years-lived with disability (YLD) increased by 9.5% between 1990 and 2020, while a 134% increase for global number of YLDs was observed.
  • OA ranked as the 14th most common cause of age standardized YLDs, reaching the 7th place for adults aged ≥70 years.
  • Females had a higher prevalence for OA than males (~ 1.4:1 ratio), also showing an increase of total prevalence with age.
  • Globally, knee OAwas the most common followed by hand, other types and  hip OA (~ 10.3 : 5 : 1.7 : 1 ratio).
  • It has been estimated that 4.6 million OA YLDs are related to high BMI, making BMI the main risk factor for OA. 
  • By 2050, projections anticipate an increase of 74.9% for knee OA, 48.6% for hand OA, 78.6% for hip OA and 95.1% for other OA.
  • Central Europe, eastern Europe and high-income Asia Pacific areas are believed to be the regions with the least percentage of change in all-age cases by 2050.
  • Central sub-Saharan Africa, eastern sub-Saharan Africa and western sub-Saharan Africa are predicted to be the regions with the higher percentage change in all-age cases by 2050, with projection estimations sometimes exceeding 200%.

Osteoarthritis was in the top-ten of the leading causes for YLDs for adults over 70 years of age in 2020, and knee OA is the most common site. It is expected that cases for each site of osteoarthritis will further increase by 48.6% to 95.1% by 2050. This study provides a detailed, accurate analysis of the global, regional and national burden of OA, unveiling risk factors and facilitating projections to help focus efforts on improving OA management worldwide.

1.           GBD 2021 Osteoarthritis Collaborators. Global, regional, and national burden of osteoarthritis, 1990-2020 and projections to 2050: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021. Lancet Rheumatol. septiembre de 2023;5(9):e508-22.

Link to the full study

This article is a summary based on the following study. For more information and details, please consult the full study. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any comments. https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2665-9913%2823%2900163-7

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