PhysioUpdate 8th March 2022


People with osteoarthritis routinely find their 'healthy working lives' are cut short as they age

Age-associated conditions such as osteoarthritis pose a barriers to people remaining healthy and in work for longer, according to a study publihsed earlier this month iin Scientific Reports. Led by Marty Lynch from Keele University’s school of medicine, the study sought to understand the impact of osteoarthritis on health working life expectancy (HWLE) – the average amount of time that people can expect to remain healthy and in work.

People’s working lives and retirement ages are being extended in response to an ageing population, but this study found that osteoarthritis, a common musculoskeletal condition in adults aged 50 and over, is associated with a significant reduction on healthy working lives.

Changing perceptions about work options for those with MSK disorders is needed

Policies should encourage 'good work 

The researchers compared HWLE in people with and without osteoarthritis from ages 50 and 65, both on a national level and in the local region of North Staffordshire. To do this, they looked at mortality and survey data for people from aged 50 and 65 obtained from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and from three time points of the North Staffordshire Osteoarthritis Project (NorStOP).

They found that osteoarthritis was linked to significantly reduced HWLE across all age groups; at age 50 the average number of years that people with osteoarthritis could be healthy and in work is over a third less than for those age 50 without osteoarthritis. The level of reduction was similar at national and local level, but the number of years that people were healthy and in work was considerably less in North Staffordshire than the national estimate.

In a release published on Keele University's website, lead author Dr Lynch said: ‘These results indicate the extent of the difference in healthy working life for people with a common health condition compared to those who do not have long term conditions and that local and regional differences for health and job opportunities can have a major impact on working lives.’

Co-author Ross Wilkie noted: ‘Whilst the study highlights the reduced healthy working life expectancy for people with osteoarthritis, the differences between areas and occupation types suggests that there is potential for this to increase.'

Dr Wilkie added: 'Policies to encourage “good work” and health promotion in workers, and approaches to facilitating working practice can have a positive impact on maintaining health and work participation when people have health conditions.’

Source: https://www.keele.ac.uk/about/news/2022/february/new-research-arthritis/lower-healthy-working-life-expectancy.php

What does the paper say?

Early identification (perhaps via presenteeism) and intervention could extend healthy working lives not just for workers with musculoskeletal conditions but also for those with other physical and mental health conditions [Marty Lynch et al.]

Implications for policy and research: a summary

‘As the prevalence of osteoarthritis among workers increases (through population and workforce ageing, deferred retirement age, and increasing obesity and physical inactivity), the association between osteoarthritis and lower HWLE may make extensions to working life difficult for many people with this common musculoskeletal condition. However, findings such as longer healthy working lives for self-employed people caution against an interpretation of inevitability.

‘An important implication for research is therefore the need to understand – in the general population and in particular among those with osteoarthritis – how biopsychosocial factors drive work participation and work outcomes such as absenteeism (work absence e.g. for health reasons) and presenteeism (reduced productivity while at work due to illness or for other reasons).

‘Achieving extended working lives policies may require changing perceptions around work disability as a likely consequence of osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders. Further work is needed to determine the extent that interference of symptomatic osteoarthritis with everyday activities (such as work and social engagement) may be lessened with supportive workplaces and a higher degree of individual control of work responsibilities and arrangements.

The article adds: ‘Proactive population/public health and primary care approaches targeting maintenance of workers’ health could prevent health conditions such as osteoarthritis impacting on work participation. Early identification (perhaps via presenteeism) and intervention could extend healthy working lives not just for workers with musculoskeletal conditions but also for those with other physical and mental health conditions.’

Conclusion

‘Evidence from two large longitudinal studies analysed in this study show that people with osteoarthritis are expected to spend fewer years healthy and in work from age 50 compared to people without osteoarthritis. The population subgroup identified by sex, osteoarthritis and occupation type that was best placed to work extended working lives were self-employed men without osteoarthritis – who were expected to be healthy and in work for just over 13 years from age 50.

The article adds: ‘Tackling HWLE inequalities and improving work outcomes for people with osteoarthritis will lead to overall improvements in average HWLE at the national level, which will require an understanding of the links between lower HWLE and key (modifiable and non-modifiable) factors that are potential drivers of health, wellbeing, and work participation.’

To see the full version of the article, titled Healthy working life expectancy at age 50 for people with and without osteoarthritis in local and national English populations, visit: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-06490-3



Want to receive newsletters?


FREE membership

Join Us

Sign up today for membership and get...

✓ Regular newsletters
✓ Full website access
✓ Sponsor Benefits

We’ll keep you connected so you’ll NEVER MISS AN UPDATE!

Join Here

Previous newsletters


PhysioUpdate 24th May 2022
PhysioUpdate 19th May 2022
PhysioUpdate 17th May 2022
PhysioUpdate 12th May 2022
PhysioUpdate 10th May 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 5th May 2022
PhysioUpdate 3rd May 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 28th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 26th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 19th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 14th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 12th April 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 7th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 5th April 2022
PhysioUpdate 31st March 2022
PhysioUpdate 29th March 2022
PhysioUpdate 22nd March 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 17th March 2022
PhysioUpdate 15th March 2022
PhysioUpdate 3rd March 2022
PhysioUpdate 1st March 2022
PhysioUpdate 22nd February 2022
PhysioUpdate 17th February 2022
PhysioUpdate 15th February 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 10th February 2022
PhysioUpdate 8th February 2022
PhysioUpdate 3rd February 2022
PhysioUpdate 1st February 2022
PhysioUpdate 25th January 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 20th January 2022
PhysioUpdate 18th January 2022
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 13th January 2022
PhysioUpdate 11th January 2022
PhysioUpdate 28th December 2021
PhysioUpdate 21st December 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 16th December 2021
PhysioUpdate 14th December 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 9th December 2021
PhysioUpdate 7th December 2021
PhysioUpdate 30th November 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 25th November 2021
PhysioUpdate 23rd November 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 18th November 2021
PhysioUpdate 16th November 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 11th November 2021
PhysioUpdate 9th November 2021
PhysioUpdate 2nd November 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 28th October 2021
PhysioUpdate 26th October 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 21st October 2021
PhysioUpdate 19th October 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 14th October 2021
PhysioUpdate 12th October 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 7th October 2021
PhysioUpdate 5th October 2021
PhysioUpdate 28th September 2021
PhysioUpdate 21st September 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 16th September 2021
PhysioUpdate 14th September 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 9th September 2021
PhysioUpdate 7th September 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 2nd September 2021
PhysioUpdate 24th August 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 19th August 2021
PhysioUpdate 17th August 2021
PhysioUpdate 3rd August 2021
PhysioUpdate 27th July 2021
PhysioUpdate 20th July 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 15th July 2021
PhysioUpdate 13th July 2021
PhysioUpdate 6th July 2021
PhysioUpdate 29th June 2021
PhysioUpdate 22nd June 2021
PhysioUpdate Suppliers News 18th June
PhysioUpdate 15th June 2021
PhysioUpdate 8th June 2021
PhysioUpdate 2nd June 2021
PhysioUpdate 4th May 2021
PhysioUpdate 27th April 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 22nd April
PhysioUpdate 6th April 2021
PhysioUpdate 30th March 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 25th March
PhysioUpdate 23rd March 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 18th March 2021
PhysioUpdate 16th March 2021
PhysioUpdate 9th March 2021
PhysioUpdate 2nd March 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 25th February
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 18th February
PhysioUpdate 16th February 2021
PhysioUpdate 2nd February 2021
PhysioUpdate Supplier News 21st January
PhysioUpdate 19th January 2021
PhysioUpdate 5th January 2021
PhysioUpdate 22nd December 2020
Industry News
9 December 2020
By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.