Objectives: In our observational cross-section population-based study, we evaluated the predictors (age, body composition indices, age at menarche, and age at menopause) of radiographic hand osteoarthritis (OA) from a sample of women of European origin, who were not receiving any medication for prevention or treatment of OA.
Methods: Our population consisted of 745 Chuvashian females with a mean age of 48.65 years (range 18-84 years) residing in peripheral villages of the Russian Federation. OA was evaluated using the Kellgren and Lawrence grading scheme. To evaluate the relationship between age, age at menarche, age at menopause, body composition indices [body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), waist-hip ratio (WHR), somatotypes (ectomorphy, mesomorphy, and endomorphy)], and an individual's osteoarthritis score (Tot28) as the dependent variable, we used multiple linear regression analysis (stepwise method).
Results and conclusions: Statistically significant predictors of hand OA in women were found to be the following: age (beta = 0.748, p = 0.000), mesomorphy (beta = 0.120, p = 0.000), WHR (beta = 0.117, p = 0.001), endomorphy (beta = -0.089, p = 0.006), and age at menarche (beta = -0.066, p = 0.012). Age was the most powerful factor in determining hand OA. Mesomorphy, the measure of muscular development was a significant predictor of hand OA. Endomorphy showed a very small, but significant, negative association with hand OA. However, BMI and WC showed no association, leading us to conclude that obesity is a mechanical rather than a systematic risk factor for OA. Age at menarche was negatively associated with hand OA, possibly because early menarche is associated with an increased rate of the general ageing process.