HealthDay News — Osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee increases the risk for social isolation in older, community-dwelling individuals, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Paola Siviero, from the Institute of Neuroscience in Padova, Italy, and colleagues used data from the European Project on Osteoarthritis to evaluate the association between osteoarthritis and incident social isolation among older, community-dwelling people living in six European countries.

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The researchers found that of the 1,967 individuals with complete follow-up data, 19 percent were socially isolated at baseline. During follow-up, 13.9 percent of individuals not socially isolated at baseline experienced social isolation. After adjusting for age, sex, and country, four factors were significantly associated with incident social isolation: clinical osteoarthritis, cognitive impairment, depression, and worse walking time. Clinical osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee (with or without hand osteoarthritis) led to a 1.47 times increased risk for social isolation compared with individuals free of osteoarthritis or with only hand osteoarthritis.

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“Clinicians should be aware that individuals with osteoarthritis may be at greater risk of social isolation,” the authors write.

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