Osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease that develops over a long time and affects 27 million Americans at a cost of $185 billion. While age, gender and BMI have all been implicated as major contributors, it is clear that working conditions can also contribute. The overall costs to treat work- related osteoarthritis is about 5% of the overall or $9 billion, with a similar amount associated with lost productivity at work and home. In other words, work-related osteoarthritis is a significant problem that is likely become more so with an aging workforce who is also getting heavier. The Clearwater Osteoarthritis Study is a community-based cohort with over 3700 participants, some having information recorded over 23 years, and is an invaluable resource. This application describes how this database and current participants provide an innovative and unique opportunity to study work-related contributors to osteoarthritis. The database has information on job risk factors, and with a supplemental history to provide richer detail, it is possible to perform a retrospective cohort study on workplace contributors. Statistical models using time-to-event information, will be employed along with consideration of the known confounders of age, gender and BMI. The results of this application will point to job risk factors based on a longitudinal study focused on osteoarthritis for the neck (cervical spine), hands, knees and feet. It will lead to a consideration of these factors during th design of workplace environments and to further studies to confirm the outcomes.
Osteoarthritis is a major health problem, which has some risk factors that are associated with workplace demands. This application proposes a method to describe those factors using a cohort of participants in a large multi-decade study population. The results can be used to improve workplace risk factors and guide future efforts.