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Osteoarthritis and comorbidity: time for action

Published:January 20, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2023.01.007
      On its own, osteoarthritis (OA) is bad enough. It is one of the most important causes of functional limitation and disability, accounting for 2% of all years lived with disability worldwide
      • Vos T.
      • Allen C.
      • Arora M.
      • et al.
      Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.
      . It takes a heavy toll on the lives of those affected, hampering participation in daily activities and reducing quality of life. Nevertheless, outdated and dismissive narratives about OA are pervasive
      • Nissen N.
      • Holm P.M.
      • Bricca A.
      • Dideriksen M.
      • Tang L.H.
      • Skou S.T.
      Clinicians' beliefs and attitudes to physical activity and exercise therapy as treatment for knee and/or hip osteoarthritis: a scoping review.
      : it is often seen as merely the inevitable ‘aches and pains’ of aging. Despite efforts to raise awareness that OA is a serious disease

      OARSI White Paper — OA as a serious disease. https://oarsi.org/oarsi-white-paper-oa-serious-disease. Published 2016. Accessed.

      , it remains underdiagnosed
      • Turkiewicz A.
      • Gerhardsson de Verdier M.
      • Engström G.
      • et al.
      Prevalence of knee pain and knee OA in southern Sweden and the proportion that seeks medical care.
      and undertreated
      • Hagen K.B.
      • Smedslund G.
      • Osteras N.
      • Jamtvedt G.
      Quality of community-based osteoarthritis care: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
      , and research is underfunded. But for those affected, OA is often just the beginning. As the study by Kamps et al. in this issue of Osteoarthritis and Cartilage confirms, OA is strongly associated with subsequently developing a wide variety of other common conditions, creating an overall burden that the wider medical community can no longer overlook.
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