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Background: There is a perception that the impacts of arthritis are greatest among older adults. However, the effect of age on health-related outcomes in individuals with arthritis has not been explicitly studied. This study examined whether the physical and mental health impacts of arthritis are greater in older (75+ years) versus younger (20-44, 45-64 and 65-74 years) Canadian adults. Methods: Data were from the arthritis component of the 2009 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada. The responses were weighted to be representative of Canadians (≥20 years) with arthritis. Associations between age and the prevalence of severe/frequent joint pain, severe/frequent fatigue, sleep limitations, instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) limitations, high levels of stress, suboptimal general and suboptimal mental health, were examined descriptively prior to conducting multivariate log-binomial regression analyses. Results: A total of 4565 respondents completed the survey (78 % response rate). Individuals with arthritis were mostly female (63 %), of working age (57 %) and overweight or obese (67 %). Upon adjusting for covariates, younger (20-44 years) and/or middle aged (45-64 years) adults were more likely than those older (75+ years) to report severe/frequent joint pain, sleep limitations, high levels of stress and suboptimal mental health. After adjusting for covariates, age was not associated with IADL limitations, severe/frequent fatigue or suboptimal general health. Conclusions: Contrary to the belief that older adults with arthritis experience more severe physical and mental health outcomes, we found that older adults were less likely to report worse outcomes than younger adults. In light of these findings, public health messaging should stress that arthritis does not just affect the elderly and emphasize the importance of timely diagnosis and management at all ages in order to prevent or, minimize arthritis-related impairment.
O’Donnell, S., Rusu, C., Hawker, G. A., Bernatsky, S., McRae, L., Canizares, M., … Badley, E. M. (2015). Arthritis has an impact on the daily lives of Canadians young and old: Results from a population-based survey. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-015-0691-2