Empower the osteoarthritis patient to avoid depression

Empower the osteoarthritis patient to avoid depression

  • One in four osteoarthritis patients suffers from anxiety or depression
  • April 7 is International Health Day and this year is dedicated to depression


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain, deformity and affects the mobility and quality of life of the people who suffer it. In the world, there are 242 million people who have osteoarthritis, seven million in Spain where it is the main cause of disability.

A study, presented by the Spanish Society of Primary Care Physicians (SEMERGEN) at the International Society for Osteoarthritis Research (OARSI) Annual Congress in 2015, indicates that one in four osteoarthritis patients suffer from episodes of anxiety or depression. According to Dr. Ingrid Möller, a rheumatologist and collaborator of OAFI (International Osteoarthritis Foundation) and director of the POAL Institute for Rheumatology, the pain, limitations and deformity that can be caused by osteoarthritis explain this relationship.

Relationship between osteoarthritis and depression

“Pain for osteoarthritis patients is a past, present and future experience that affects them in their relationship with the family, at work … And that added to the deformity, especially in hands and / or knees, can lead, to depressive moods. ”

“For professionals,” says Möller, “it may be difficult to address these issues beyond offering analgesics, anti-inflammatories or antidepressants. But it is easy for the patient to resort to any paramedical alternative at times costly, without scientific evidence to support it, and with uncertain results that contribute to increase the patient’s discouragement. ”

Share experiences

An informed patient in joint health who shares their experiences and information with other patients could be a tool to improve the quality of life of osteoarthritis patients. “In that sense,” says Möller, “programs that empower the patient, such as the OAFI Expert Patient, will serve to give patients a voice, to feel themselves understood and improve their mood.”

The objective of the OAFI Expert Patient program is to train osteoarthritis patients and provide them with tools in various fields to improve their quality of life. The program includes exercises to lose weight, to combat pain or to feel better.