Obesity has been found to be a 'major factor' that leads to osteoarthritis and it is mostly at the moderate or severe stage that patients seek medical treatment, according to a city-based study.
The Arthritis Foundation of India (AFI) carried the epidemiological study on the situation of osteoarthritis in Delhi on 600 OPD patients drawn from four hospitals.
"Most respondents sought medical treatment at a moderate to severe stage. It could have been possible to prevent the progression of the disease and the suffering to quite an extent had it been reported in the mild stage," the study said.
In addition, women reported it more than men, the study said.
The AFI, member of the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the WHO, conducted the multi-centric study at Hedgewar Hospital, Vir Savarkar Hospital, Jagpravesh Hospital and R K Hospital.
"55 per cent of the patients were women. Shockingly, the severity of arthritis was also much higher in women as compared to men," it said.
"Obesity was a major contributing factor, with 53 per cent of the respondents found to be obese. Also with risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, thyroid, etc., the progress of the diseases was much quicker in many cases, within two years," it added.
Over 73 per cent of the patients who attended the arthritis OPD for knee arthritis, were aged more than 40 years. However, an alarmingly high incidence of arthritis, i.e. 26.5 per cent, was reported among younger people, in their 30s, the study further said.
It throws light on the prevalence of osteoarthritis in Delhi, and the general public's response to the disease. Unfortunately, there is very little awareness among the masses, which is not a good sign and is preventing people from getting the right treatment at the right time, said Sushil Sharma, Senior Orthopedician and Chairman, AFI.