Obesity, Back Pain Have Most Impact on Early Osteoarthritis Patients


As the symptoms of early osteoarthritis set in, patients are most troubled by specific comorbidities discovered in a long-term study.

Of all possible comorbidities that can trouble people who have early symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA), obesity and back disorders have the greatest negative impact on physical well-being and pain. This is the outcome of ten years followup in the CHECK (Cohort Hip and Cohort Knee) Study, launched in the Netherlands by the Dutch Arthritis Association.

While being alert for early OA itself, the examiners suggest, you'll have a better chance of minimizing the overall debilitation in OA patients if you quickly identify and address these comorbidities as well.

In CHECK, doctors examined 1002 subjects with early symptomatic OA in either the hip or knee, using several measures: WOMAC pain, WOMAC physical functioning, Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 (SF-36) Physical Component Summary, and Mental Component Summary. Of the original pool, 68% reported one or more comorbidities.

As to mental status, the four comorbidities most likely to dampen the spirits of someone with early OA significantly were duodenal ulcer, thyroid disease, or chronic or migraine headache.

The results are reported in Rheumatology.

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