Objective. To examine the relationship between Health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and health service use among older adults with osteoarthritis (OA). Methods. Subjects were 9,043 Medicare-enrolled survey respondents with a prior International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision code for OA. Analyses examined the relationship of 5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HRQOL items (general health, mental health, pain, activity limitation, and sleep) to physician visits, prescription analgesic or antiinflammatory use, and arthroplasty during 1 year of followup. Results. In analyses controlling for demographic and health-related variables, greater pain frequency was associated with increased odds of visiting a physician, using analgesic or antiinflammatory drugs, and having arthroplasty (P < 0.001). Poorer general health was associated with increased odds of analgesic or antiinflammatory use but decreased odds of arthroplasty (P < 0.01). More days of activity limitation and poor mental health were associated with decreased odds of analgesic or antiinflammatory use (P < 0.01). Conclusion. These HRQOL variables, especially pain frequency, can be valuable tools for estimating future health care use among older adults with OA.
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