Background and aims: To assess the prevalence and impact of osteoarthritis (OA) and osteoporosis (OP) on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among active subjects employed in the public workforce in Belgium.
Methods: A cohort of 3440 subjects employed by the Liège City Council was prospectively followed for 6 months. The employees were asked to fill in a monthly log in a health record book, of data regarding their healthcare consumption due to OA and OP. HRQOL was assessed using the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36).
Results: 1811 subjects (52.6%) filled in at least one questionnaire. The mean duration of follow-up was 3.46 months. The self-reported prevalence of OA and OP at entry to the study were respectively 34.1% and 5.3%. 3.6% of subjects reported suffering from both OA and OP. Subjects with OA and both OA and OP had significantly lower scores on all SF-36 dimensions compared with normal subjects, reflecting a worse HRQOL. The OP group had significantly lower mean scores for physical functioning and pain compared with controls. Subjects with both OA and OP had significantly lower values for physical functioning, physical role and pain when compared with the OA and OP groups.
Conclusions: The results of this survey of a large sample of active subjects show that self-reported osteoarthritis and osteoporosis are common in the workplace. Both diseases have a major impact on health-related quality of life compared with that of people without self-reported musculoskeletal diseases.