Big Pain in Bigger Joints

Osteoarthritis more common among African Americans

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) African Americans and Caucasian are not always affected by diseases in the same way. For example, as new research shows, African Americans may have a different experience with arthritis.

Researchers say that frican Americans are more likely to find osteoarthritis in large joints. Based on the current definition of "generalized osteoarthritis," the disease may not be recognized in many African Americans.

"Get screened for arthritis."

This study - which was conducted by Amanda Nelson, M.D., MSCR, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues - shows that there are racial differences in the way that osteoarthritis affects patients.

In fact, according to Dr. Nelson, the racial differences were more significant than the gender differences.

For their study, the researchers looked at X-rays for the hands, knee, hips, and spine of African American and Caucasian men and women who were at least 45 years old.

They found that African Americans were much less likely to have osteoarthritis in the finger tip joints and other joints in the hand, compared to Caucasians. However, African Americans were more likely to have multiple, large-joint osteoarthritis.

African Americans were two times more likely than Caucasians to have knee osteoarthritis. They also had a 77 percent greater chance of having knee and spine osteoarthritis together.

Dr. Nelson says that the study's findings suggest that African Americans are suffering a significant health burden of large-joint osteoarthritis, especially arthritis of the hip and spine. She adds that more research should be done to address this problem.

The study is published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 21, 2011
Last Updated:
October 24, 2011