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In Delhi, osteoarthritis remains a neglected problem: Study

Jun 29, 2017

Lack of awareness leads women and injury-prone adults to seek medical care only at a severe stage.

New Delhi- Arthritis Foundation of India (AFI), has conducted an epidemiological study on the situation of osteoarthritis in Delhi under Dr Sushil Sharma.

Some of the major findings include lack of awareness among citizens leading to a late diagnosis, seeking medical help only at a severe stage, a higher incidence of the problem among women, who invariably receive medical care only at a severe stage, and the severity increased with major risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, obesity & knee injury.

According to the study, most respondents sought medical treatment at a moderate to severe stage. The study notes, it could have been possible to prevent the progression of the disease and the suffering to quite an extent had it been reported in the mild stage.

In addition, women reported osteoarthritis more than men. 55% of the patients were females, as compared to 45% males. Shockingly, the severity of arthritis was also much higher in females as compared to males.

Obesity was a major contributing factor, with 53% of the respondents were found to be obese. Also with the risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, etc., the progress of the diseases was much quicker in many cases within 2 years.

In terms of the socioeconomic background of the patients, 70% of the total participants belonged to a less than Rs.25000 per month income group, and the rest 30% belonged to an above Rs. 25000 per month bracket. However, the socioeconomic status did not seem to be much of a factor affecting severity of OA.The marginally high severe cases could be attributed to the life style in lower socioeconomic group like elevator-less multistoried housing, Indian toilets, and more of them sitting frequently on the floor, etc.

In terms of the age bracket, 73.5% patients who attended the arthritis OPD for knee arthritis were more than 40 years of age. However, an alarmingly high incidence of arthritis, i.e. 26.5 %, was reported among younger people in their thirties.

“This study throws light on the prevalence of osteoarthritis in Delhi, and the general public’s response to the disease. Unfortunately, there is very little awareness among the masses, which is not a good sign and is preventing people from getting the right treatment at the right time,” says Dr. Sushil Sharma.

The study was multi-centric and various centres and the doctors in-charge were: Hedgewar Hospital- Dr. Arvind, Veer Savarkar Hospital- Dr. Ajeet, Jag Pravesh Hospital - Dr. Ashish and RK Hospital - Dr. Vikas. The team studied 600 OPD patients in these hospitals.

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