People with joint, muscle disorders expected to increase by 115 pc by 2050: Study

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More than a billion people globally are expected to have disorders of joints, muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and spine by 2050, up from about half a billion in 2020, according to a new study published in The Lancet Rheumatology journal.

The projected figure of musculoskeletal disorder cases is an increase of about 115 per cent from that of 2020, and most regions were projected to have at least a 50 per cent increase in cases between 2020 and 2050, the international study by The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, US, found.

“We highlight there is a substantial burden of what are categorised as ‘other’ musculoskeletal disorders that would otherwise go unrecognised,” said joint first author Manasi Murthy Mittinty from Flinders University College of Medicine, Australia.

The musculoskeletal disorders studied were a large and growing source of disability in the world that requires public policy consideration, she said. ‘Not only are the number of people worldwide living with other musculoskeletal conditions such as systemic lupus erythematosus and spondylopathies increasing but so will be their healthcare needs in 2050 and beyond,’ said Mittinty.

The musculoskeletal disorders were prevalent 47.4 per cent higher in women than in men, and increased with age to peak at 65-69 years in both the sexes, the research found after analysing data from 23 countries. It then estimated prevalence of these disorders in 204 countries and territories from 1990 to 2020 and made projections for 2050 using statistical analyses.

‘A factor which may add to the projection of course is the emergence of post-COVID-19 implications where a growing cohort of related conditions characterised by musculoskeletal symptoms and loss of mobility are recognised, adding further pressure on health systems and communities,’ said Mittinty