Quantifying the impact of transient joint symptoms, chronic joint symptoms, and arthritis: A population-based approach

Lucy Busija, Rachelle Buchbinder, Richard H. Osborne

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To estimate the prevalence and co-occurrence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, chronic joint symptoms (pain, aching, stiffness, or swelling on most days for a month), and transient joint symptoms (pain, aching, stiffness, or swelling but not on most days for a month), and to compare the sociodemographic characteristics, activity limitations, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of people with joint conditions with those who have no self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and no joint symptoms. Methods. Data from the 2004 population-based South Australian Health Omnibus Survey (n = 2,840, ages 18-96 years) were used in the study. Activity limitations were assessed using 10 activity limitations questions from the Short Form 36 health survey. HRQOL was assessed using the Assessment of Quality of Life scale. Results. Half of all respondents reported having joint problems, with 26%, 11%, and 13% reporting self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis, chronic joint symptoms, and transient joint symptoms, respectively. Chronic joint conditions (self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and chronic joint symptoms) accounted for 74% of all joint problems and were associated with higher odds of activity limitations and poorer HRQOL. The frequency of transient and chronic joint symptoms was highest among middle-aged participants (ages 45-54 years for transient and 45-64 years for chronic joint symptoms) and those who had a body mass index in the obese range. Prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis increased with age and was higher among women and those who were overweight or obese. Conclusion. This study documented the high prevalence and impact of joint conditions in the community. Chronic joint conditions affect daily life and are substantial barriers for effective public health interventions aimed at reducing obesity and inactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1312-1321
Number of pages10
JournalArthritis Care & Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2009

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