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Osteoarthritis in Southeast and East Asia: A Review


Osteoarthritis (OA), a disease of the joint characterized by progressive cartilage degradation and chronic pain, is the most common form of arthritis and the leading contributor to disability. The prevalence of OA is increasing worldwide with global population aging. The rise in OA prevalence is especially concerning for many Southeast and East Asian countries with unprecedentedly rapid population aging. This literature review aims to explore the OA prevalence and risk factors, and the OA lived experience in Southeast and East Asia; as well as the OA situation in Vietnam and Japan. Knee and hand OA are highly prevalent in Southeast and East Asia, and are associated with diverse biological, behavioral, and social factors such as age, sex, body mass index, occupation and educational level, and sociocultural activities. The OA lived experience is highly variable and characterized by limited knowledge of OA and OA management; pain and disability impact on physical, sociocultural, and psychological health; and self-management of OA. Finally, comparison of the OA situation in Vietnam and Japan revealed more challenges for OA management in Vietnam. Learning from Japan, we recommend that Vietnam implement a long-term care insurance system to support OA patients with disability, in addition to promoting public awareness of OA and OA prevention and management. With increased aging population and burden of healthcare to the society, awareness of OA and the modifiable risk factors should happen at all levels including the public, health providers and policy makers.

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