Last November, SEIOMM (Spanish Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism Research) and the Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI) signed a collaboration agreement between both parties, in which they undertook to work together to tackle osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
Osteoarthritis, a chronic disease erroneously associated with old age, already affects more than 7 million people in Spain, with a total of 500 million affected worldwide, and is one of the most prevalent chronic pathologies. With the arrival of Covid-19, these figures have been aggravated: currently, osteoarthritis patients face a 3-year delay in diagnosis, and 95% of them suffer from associated comorbidities such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and cardiovascular diseases.
Between 30-40% of patients with osteoarthritis suffer concomitantly from osteoporosis, a pathology that affects around 3 million people in Spain, causing more than 330,000 fractures a year in our country. It is a silent disease, in other words, completely asymptomatic, which causes a progressive decrease in bone mass and tissue. Fractures are the most serious consequence of this pathology, representing an important cause of illness and mortality in people who suffer from it.
Faced with this reality, which highlights the need to seek effective solutions to a growing problem, SEIOMM and OAFI have taken the initiative to lead a joint movement that unites patients, patient associations, medical and scientific societies, industry, research centres and public administrations in the fight against both diseases.
With the signing of this agreement, which is already in force, both organisations are committed to collaborating on national and international research projects in the fields of medicine, sports medicine and nutraceuticals. In this way, doctors and patients will work together to create specific programs for the prevention and treatment of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis and to safeguard the rights of those affected.
As the CEO and Founder of OAFI, Dr. Josep Vergés, states, “it is vitally important that patients and medical groups work together to find solutions to a disease that seems to be forgotten by a large part of society”. This collaboration aims to serve as an example so that the patient’s perspective begins to be included in all the studies and medical decisions that are made about them.
For the president of the SEIOMM, Dr. Manuel Naves, “greater interrelation between scientific societies and patients’ associations is essential, which would enable scientific societies to have a more direct view of the needs and concerns of the patients they treat”. This type of alliance, the SEIOMM adds, will allow “optimisation of patient management, in the interests of a better quality of life, a fundamental objective that should be a priority for healthcare professionals”.
Likewise, OAFI and SEIOMM are still working to be able to include AECOSAR (Spanish Association for Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis) in the agreement in the near future, and thus be able to provide a better response to people affected by these rheumatic diseases.
Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI) is the first and only non-profit foundation exclusively for people with osteoarthritis worldwide. Since 2016, it has been leading the fight against osteoarthritis by promoting education, prevention, treatment and research into everything related to joint health and offering solutions to people suffering from this disease.
The Spanish Society for Bone and Mineral Metabolism Research (SEIOMM) is a non-profit scientific society that aims to improve the health and quality of life of the population from the perspective of metabolic bone and mineral metabolism diseases, promoting their prevention and treatment, seeking excellence in research, as well as in the assistance to these clinical problems, facilitating the training of professionals involved in it.