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Osteoarthritis can impact on every aspect of life, including an individual's ability to be independent, their social life, relationships and emotional wellbeing [1].

Perceived health status

According to the 2011-12 National Health Survey, people aged 15 and over with osteoarthritis are less likely to perceive their health as excellent, very good or good than people without the condition. People with osteoarthritis were 3 times as likely to report their health as poor (9%) compared to those without osteoarthritis (3%).

Figure 1: Self-assessed health of people aged 15 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2011-12

Horizontal bar chart showing for (excelent, very good, good, fair, poor);  percent (0 to 100) on the x axis; does not have osteoarthritis, has osteoarthritis on the y axis.

Note:  

  1. Total for all ages was age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
  2. The thin horizontal lines attached at the end of each bar are 95% confidence intervals. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this confidence interval.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011-12 (see Source data).

Psychological distress

The limitations imposed by osteoarthritis can be detrimental to a person's self-esteem and self-image and can lead to negative emotional states, anxiety, depression and feelings of helplessness [2,3].

People aged 18 and over with osteoarthritis were 3.5 times as likely to report very high levels of psychological distress (11%) than those without the condition (3%) according to the 2011-12 NHS.

Figure 2: Psychological distress in people aged 18 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2011-12

Horizontal bar chart showing for (low distress level, moderate distress level, high distress level, very high distress level);  percent (0 to 100) on the x axis; does not have osteoarthritis, has osteoarthritis on the y axis.

Note:  

  1. Total for all ages was age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
  2. The thin horizontal lines attached at the end of each bar are 95% confidence intervals. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this confidence interval.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011–12 (see Source data).

Pain

Joint pain is one of the major symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is initially felt during and after activity, but as the disease progresses it may occur with minimal movement or even during rest.

People aged 18 and over with osteoarthritis were 3.5 times as likely to report very severe pain (5%) compared with those without the condition (1.4%) according to the 2011–12 NHS.

Figure 3: Pain experienced by people aged 18 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2011–12

Horizontal bar chart showing for pain (none, very mild, mild, moderate, severe, very severe);  percent (0 to 100) on the x axis; does not have osteoarthritis, has osteoarthritis on the y axis.

Note:  

  1. Total for all ages was age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.
  2. The thin horizontal lines attached at the end of each bar are 95% confidence intervals. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this confidence interval. 

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011-12 (see Source data).


Source tables

Table 1: Self-assessed health in people(a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2011-12
Self-rated health status With osteoarthritis
Per cent(b)
With osteoarthritis
95%CI(c)
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent(b)
Without osteoarthritis
95%CI(c)
Rate ratio(d)
Excellent 9.4 5.3-13.5 21.4 20.5-22.3 0.4
Very good 32.1 25.5-38.7 36.2 35.1-37.3 0.9
Good 34.2 26.6-41.8 29.5 28.5-30.5 1.2
Fair 15.3 11.4-19.2 9.5 8.9-10.1 1.6
Poor 9.0 4.6-13.4 3.3 3.0-3.6 2.7
  1. Ages 15 and over only.
  2. Age standardised to the Australian population as at June 2001.
  3. Shows the lower and upper limits of confidence interval. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this interval.
  4. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011-12.

Table 2: Psychological distress in people(a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2011-12
Level of distress (b) With osteoarthritis
Per cent(c)
With osteoarthritis
95%CI(d)
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent(c)
Without osteoarthritis
95%CI(d)
Without osteoarthritis
Rate ratio(e)
Low 55.5 45.8-65.2 71.4 70.3-72.5 0.8
Moderate 19.6 14.6-24.6 18.0 17.1-18.9 1.1
High 13.1 7.4-18.8 6.9 6.4-7.4 1.9
Very high 10.6 1.9-19.3 3.0 2.6-3.4 3.5
  1. Ages 18 and over only.
  2. Psychological distress is measured using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, which involves ten questions about negative emotional states experienced in the previous 4 weeks. The scores are grouped into low (indicating little or no psychological distress), high and very high (indicating very high levels of psychological distress).
  3. Age standardised to the Australian population as at June 2001.
  4. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.
  5. Shows the lower and upper limits of confidence interval. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this interval.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011-12.

Table 3: Pain experienced by people(a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2011-12
Level of bodily pain (b) With osteoarthritis
Per cent(c)
With osteoarthritis
95%CI(d)
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent(c)
Without osteoarthritis
95%CI(d)  
Rate ratio(e)
Very mild 12.2 8.3-16.1 23.9 23.0-24.8 0.5
Mild 23.7 16.2-31.2 19.0 18.1-19.9 1.2
Moderate 36.1 29.3-42.9 16.7 15.9-17.5 2.2
Severe 13.9 11.7-16.1 5.1 4.6-5.6 2.7
Very severe 4.9 1.8-8.0 1.4 1.2-1.6 3.5
  1. Ages 18 and over only.
  2. Bodily pain experienced in the 4 weeks prior to interview.
  3. Age standardised to the Australian population as at June 2001.
  4. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.
  5. Shows the lower and upper limits of confidence interval. We can be 95% confident that the true value is within this interval.  

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey (unpublished), 2011-12.


References

  1. Picavet HS & Hoeymans N 2004. Health related quality of life in multiple musculoskeletal diseases: SF-36 and EQ-SD in the DMC3 study. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 63:723-729.
    Woo J, Lau E, Lee P, Kwok T, Lau WC, Chan C et al. 2004. Impact of osteoarthritis on quality of life in a Hong Kong Chinese population. Journal of Rheumatology 31:2433-2438.
  2. Sheehy C, Murphy E & Barry M 2006. Depression in arthritis - underscoring the problem. Rheumatology (Oxford) 45:1325-1327.
  3.  Murphy LB, Sacks JJ, Brady TJ, Hootman JM & Chapman DP 2012. Anxiety and depression among US adults with arthritis: prevalence and correlates. Arthritis Care & Research 64(7):968–976.