Etiology, epidemiology, and impact of osteoarthritis on an individual, society, and nation and the main principles of management of this disease are reviewed in the article. Treatment should be tailored to the needs of an individual patient. Physicians should be familiar with pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment modalities to maximize effective utilization and a thorough understanding of short- and long-term complications and costs. Severity of osteoarthritis should be taken into physician’s and patient’s consideration while applying an appropriate treatment. A stepwise management of osteoarthritis has to be taken into account. As effective interventions remain underused, state arthritis programs, including osteoarthritis programs, have to be developed to build an appropriate scientific base in public health, observe burden and impact, assess and disseminate evidence-based interventions, and work to reduce and delay disability, and improve quality of life among people with arthritis. Adequate studies on the costs of osteoarthritis are urgently required so that cogent arguments can be made to governments to appropriately fund prevention and treatment programs for this condition. Its recognition as a major cause of disability, particularly in the aging population, should increase community focus on this important condition. Osteoarthritis as a pathogenic process and its impact on an individual and society should be taken into special consideration by health providers and officers developing the national health policy in Lithuania, because there is a lack of information related to the prevalence of osteoarthritis, risk factors, also osteoarthritisassociated disability, and costs of the management of this disease among Lithuanian inhabitants.
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