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J Rheumatol. 2008 Apr;35(4):677-84. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

Prevalence and burden of osteoarthritis: results from a population survey in Norway.

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  • 1National Resource Centre for Rehabilitation in Rheumatology, Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



To investigate the prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) in knee, hip, and hand in a general population in Norway and the burden of disease in terms of associations between the report of OA and health-related variables.


In 2004, postal questionnaires were sent to all people in a local community born in 1928-30, 1938-40, 1948-50, 1958-60, 1968-70, and 1978-80. A total of 3266 (56.7%) responded. The prevalence of hip, knee, and/or hand OA was obtained by the item "Have you ever been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in hip/knee/hand by a medical doctor or by x-ray?".


The overall prevalence of OA was 12.8% (95% CI 11.7-14.0), being significantly higher among women [14.7% (95% CI 13.1-16.4)] than men [10.5% (95% CI 9.0-12.1)]. The prevalence for hip OA was 5.5% (95% CI 4.7-6.3), knee OA 7.1% (95% CI 6.3-8.0), and for hand OA 4.3% (95% CI 3.6-5.0). OA was significantly (all p < 0.001) associated with higher age, less than 12 years of education, being out of work, pain duration > 1 year, pain in several body sites, sick leave for more than 8 weeks, emotional distress, poor sleeping quality, fatigue, and with frequent use of healthcare providers in primary health care. A significant (p = 0.001) dose-response relationship between increasing body mass index and OA was found.


The overall prevalence of OA was 12.8% and higher prevalence was found among women and older people, people with less than 12 years of education, those out of work, and those overweight. OA was associated with pain, disability, and poor health status, and frequent use of healthcare providers.

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