Arthritis is a general term that describes problems with the joint, or the ligaments, tendons and muscles near the joint. The three most significant forms of arthritis accounting for most cases in Australia &151; are osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and gout.
Facts and figures
Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic (ongoing) pain in Australia. According to the latest research, nearly one in five Australians has arthritis. In 2007, an estimated 3.85 million Australians have arthritis, including 2.4 million in the working-age population (15-64 years).
Arthritic conditions are more prevalent among females, with more than two million women (19.9 per cent of Australian females) and 1.8 million males (17.1 per cent of Australian males) estimated to have arthritis in 2007.
Rates of arthritis prevalence increase with age, to the point where half of all Australians aged over 80 have some form of arthritis.
A recent report commissioned by Arthritis Australia (Painful Realities &151; Access Economics 2007) predicts that by 2050, seven million Australians will have arthritis &151; 23.9 per cent of the projected population of 29.4 million. This is forecast to include 3.3 million males (22.5 per cent of males) and 3.7 million females (25.2 per cent of females). OA is projected to remain the most prevalent arthritic condition, affecting 3.1 million Australians, while the prevalence of RA is projected to be 0.9 million in 2050.
10 steps for living well with arthritis
The more proactive you are in managing arthritis, the less joint pain, stiffness and disability you will experience. Arthritis Australia has developed the following 10 steps for living well with your affliction.
- Take control by knowing your disease
- Don't delay, see your doctor
- Work with your healthcare team and be an important part of it
- Know about your treatment options
- Find new ways to stay active
- Learn techniques to help manage your pain
- Acknowledge your feelings and seek support
- Make food choices that count
- Balance your life and
- Contact your local Arthritis Foundation