Being a woman and having osteoarthritis multiplies the possibility of suffering other diseases

  • The most frequent are anxiety and depression, high blood pressure, gastro-oesophageal reflux and peripheral vascular disease.
  • Women also have a poorer perception of their quality of life, more pain and less mobility.
  • Specialists point out the importance of taking these differential factors in women into account when deciding on the best therapeutic approach to osteoarthritis.

Being a woman and having osteoarthritis doubles the possibility of suffering from other diseases. This is the main conclusion of a new analysis carried out in the EMARTRO study (Study to assess comorbidity in patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis), which was recently presented at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) World Congress held in Las Vegas (USA).

The EMARTRO study involved 1,371 patients (both rural and urban, aged between 55 and 80 years, with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee) and 63 primary care physicians from 14 autonomous communities. EMARTRO is a  multicentre, epidemiological study of comparative cases and controls between patients with and without osteoarthritis in any location and without gonalgia, conducted nationwide by the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians SEMERGEN, with the collaboration of Bioibérica.

The study found that 31% of women with osteoarthritis suffer from anxiety and 20% from depression, compared with 12% of men. In addition, women have a worse perception of their quality of life and more symptoms derived from their osteoarthritis: they report more pain than men and more mobility problems in carrying out their daily activities.

It has also been observed that women have 70% more hypertension, 89% more gastric reflux and 115% more peripheral vascular disease than women without osteoarthritis.

“If we add to these differential factors the fact that most of the women studied are overweight, the cardiovascular factor takes on special relevance. All this information is key to improving the quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis and deciding the best therapeutic approach in each case”, explains Marta Herrero, principal investigator of the study and head of clinical research at Bioibérica.

“EMARTRO is the first study on osteoarthritis carried out at national level by a Primary Care society, the speciality that is closest to the patients. We wanted to have a current in-depth study of osteoarthritis in Spain given that it is the second most common diagnosis in Primary Care and that is why we at SEMERGEN, are committed to promoting it”, says Dr José Luis Llisterri, President of SEMERGEN.

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