Chinese suffer aches and pains too

Feb 01, 2008

We like to complain about our aches and pains, but rheumatism is not only the preserve of western society. A comprehensive survey of rheumatic diseases in China, published in the open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, reveals that rheumatic complaints are also common in China. The survey suggests that the incidence of certain rheumatic diseases in the Chinese population is now becoming more like that of Western countries.

This latest survey is the first of its kind, using data compiled from 38 previously published studies covering over 240,000 adults from 25 provinces and cities. It shows that the prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) in China is similar to other Asian Pacific and western countries. However, rheumatic diseases in the Chinese appear to affect different sites than that of Caucasian populations. The sites of complaint tended to be the lumbar spine, knee joint and cervical spine, whereas Caucasian populations tend to suffer OA more in the hips and hands. The prevalence of ankylosing spondylitis in China was also similar to Caucasians and similarly linked to certain genetic markers.

The study also shows that elderly people in the north of China suffer the most from these painful and chronic joint complaints including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in mainland China ranged from 0.2% to 0.37%, a prevalence similar to most Asian and South American countries, but lower than that in Caucasians.

“Interestingly, we found that the prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis in urban and suburban parts of Taiwan was closer to the Caucasians rate,” says Dr Qing Yu Zeng who led the study. “These areas are more developed than mainland China. Apart from genetic factors, it looks as if environmental and socio-economic factors might be important risk factors for RA. That’s something we'd certainly like to investigate further.”

The survey also looked into a number of rarer rheumatic conditions and found evidence that certain ethnic groups might be more susceptible than others.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Bird flu confirmed at Iowa farm with 5.3 million chickens

Related Stories

Devices or divisive: Mobile technology in the classroom

8 hours ago

Little is known about how new mobile technologies affect students' development of non-cognitive skills such as empathy, self-control, problem solving, and teamwork. Two Boston College researchers say it's ...

Recommended for you

Cancer drug shows promise as cure for hepatitis B

8 hours ago

Australian scientists have found a potential cure for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, with a promising new treatment proving 100 per cent successful in eliminating the infection in preclinical models.

One test for all infections

10 hours ago

If you're returning from abroad with a fever, your doctor will likely test you for malaria. You'll give multiple blood samples at the lab, and if the results are inconclusive, you'll face yet another round of tests.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.