Disease-modifying drugs are not currently available for treating knee osteoarthritis (OA); therefore, prevention strategies focus on patient risk factors, such as obesity and injury, for reducing the burden of disease. Understanding their personal risk factors may influence patients’ OA prevention efforts.
To measure patients’ perception of their own risk of developing knee OA, Elena Losina, PhD, and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, developed a personalized risk calculator that uses demographic and risk factor information to estimate knee OA risk. In a recent study, published in the August 2017 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, researchers tested the efficacy of the calculator on that accuracy of risk perception. Researchers also used contemplation ladders to measure a patient’s willingness to implement behavior changes that would prevent weight gain, such as increase exercise, improve diet and control weight—all established risk factors for knee OA.
The study included 375 participants, recruited through the Amazon Mechanical Turk, who were randomized to use the personalized risk calculator, OA Risk C, or receive general OA risk information (control group). Subjects estimated their 10-year and lifetime risk and responded to contemplation ladders at baseline and after the interventions. At baseline, the mean age of participants was 32 years old with a mean body mass index of 27. Subjects in both study arms had an average 3.6% chance of developing symptomatic knee OA in the next 10 years and a 25.3% chance of developing knee OA in their lifetime.