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Nearly half of US adults will develop painful knee osteoarthritis by age 85: study
Date:9/2/2008

Almost half of all U.S. adults and nearly two-thirds of obese adults will develop painful osteoarthritis of the knee by age 85, a study based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill suggests.

The study also found that a person's lifetime risk rose as their body mass index or BMI increased, with the greatest risk found in those whose weight was normal at age 18 but were overweight or obese at 45 or older.

"These results show how important weight management is for people throughout their lives," said Dr. Joanne Jordan, principal investigator of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project and senior study author. "Simply put, people who keep their weight within the normal range are much less likely to develop symptomatic knee osteoarthritis as they get older and thus much less likely to face the need for major surgical procedures, such as knee replacement surgery."

The study also sends an important message to physicians, said Jordan, director of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center and professor of medicine and orthopaedics in the School of Medicine at the University. "They need to include the risk of knee osteoarthritis in the discussion when counseling patients about weight management and they need to factor that risk into their treatment plans."

The results were published in the Sept. 15, 2008 issue of Arthritis Care & Research. Lead author of the report is Louise Murphy, Ph.D. of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Murphy led the data analysis and the CDC is the primary funder of the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project.

In the study, researchers collected and analyzed data over a 13-year period from 3,068 men and women 45 years old and older who live in Johnston County, N.C. At two separate points during the study, each participant was interviewed at home and given a clinical exam that included taking X-ray images of their knees and measuring their BMI. They were intervi
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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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