SCIENCE AND SOCIETY: The individual and socioeconomic impact of osteoarthritis

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Abstract

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a highly prevalent, disabling disease, with a commensurate tremendous individual and socioeconomic burden. This Perspectives article focuses on the burden of OA for the individual, the health-care system and society, to draw attention to the magnitude of the current problem with some reference to projected figures. We have an urgent opportunity to make fundamental changes to the way we care for individuals with OA that will have an effect upon the direct and indirect costs of this disease. By focusing on the burden of this prevalent, disabling, and costly disease, we hope to highlight the opportunity for shifts in health-care policy towards prevention and chronic-disease management.

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