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Osteoarthritis Increases in British Columbia Sample

Increase attributed to aging, possibly obesity; rate rises more in women

MONDAY, July 28 (HealthDay News) -- Between 1996 and 2004, the incidence of osteoarthritis rose in British Columbia, Canada, because of aging of the population and other factors, according to research published online June 24 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Jacek A. Kopec, Ph.D., of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues used an administrative database to assess medical visits and hospitalizations for osteoarthritis in fiscal years 1996-1997 through 2003-2004. One definition for osteoarthritis the researchers used was at least one visit or hospitalization coded for osteoarthritis.

In this period, crude incidence rates of osteoarthritis, based on this definition, rose from 10.5 to 12.2 per 1,000 in men and from 13.9 to 17.4 per 1,000 in women. Age-standardized rates showed no clear trend for men but increased from 14.7 to 16.7 per 1,000 in women. Roughly half the increase in crude incidence rates in women is attributable to population aging, the authors write.

"An increasing trend in age-standardized rates seems consistent with the effect of obesity. Obesity is a strong risk factor for knee OA (osteoarthritis) and a weaker risk factor for hip and hand OA. The prevalence of obesity has been on the rise in BC (British Columbia) and elsewhere, in both men and women. In addition, the effect of obesity on knee OA may be stronger in women and knee OA is more common in women," they write.

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