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SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES ON OSTEOARTHRITIS MANAGEMENT: INSIGHTS AND CHALLENGES, Andreea-Alexandra Nicolau

This study examines how medical sociology intersects with osteoarthritis management, with both the perspectives of individuals affected by the condition and the healthcare system, drawing insights from theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence. Two main themes were addressed: gender disparities and the living experience with osteoarthritis. It was found that the female gender is more susceptible to developing knee osteoarthritis due to lifestyle factors and other environmental influences. Additionally, women tend to report pain earlier compared to men, leading to a higher likelihood of seeking medical attention for symptoms. Regarding the experience of living with this condition, important themes such as the refusal to give up, pragmatism in treatment, staying in charge and the care from others were presented, being essential for managing this condition. Additionally, it was discovered that better communication between doctor and patient, the exchange of specific, relevant and sufficient information, contributes to a positive experience during a medical consultation and forms the foundation of a trustworthy relationship between the individual and the healthcare system. Overall, this research shows that managing osteoarthritis is complex and requires personalized healthcare approaches. Keywords: osteoarthritis, medical sociology, gender disparities, living experience, management.