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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].

According to the 2007–08 National Health Survey, people with osteoarthritis are less likely to perceive their health as excellent, very good or good than people without the condition. About 27% of people with osteoarthritis rated their health as fair or poor compared to 13% of those without osteoarthritis.

Figure 1: Self-assessed health of people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08

Self-assessed health of people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08 PNG

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.

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].

People with osteoarthritis were 1.8 times as likely to report very high levels of psychological distress than those without the condition according to the 2007–08 NHS.

Figure 2: Psychological distress in people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08

Psychological distress in people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08 PNG

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.

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 with osteoarthritis were 1.4 times as likely to report pain compared with those without the condition according to the 2007–08 NHS. Of the 91% of people with osteoarthritis reporting pain, almost half experienced moderate pain, with one-quarter reporting severe or very severe pain.

Figure 3: Pain experienced by people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08

Pain experienced by people with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08 PNG

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.

Source tables

Table 1: Self-assessed health in people (a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08
Self-rated health status With osteoarthritis
Number
With osteoarthritis
Per cent (b)
Without osteoarthritis
Number
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent (b)
Rate ratio (c)
Excellent 119,477 6.7 3,253,868 21.7 0.3
Very good 419,047 27.7 5,476,540 36.5 0.7
Good 520,126 38.6 4,302,674 28.7 1.3
Fair 360,183 18.8 1,463,243 9.8 1.9
Poor 194,166 8.2 491,286 3.3 2.5

a. Ages 15 and over only.
b. Age standardised to the Australian population as at June 2001.
c. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.

Table 2: Psychological distress in people (a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08
Level of distress (b) With osteoarthritis
Number
With osteoarthritis
Per cent
Without osteoarthritis
Number
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent
Rate ratio (c)
Low 948,754 59.3 9,649,026 68.2 0.9*
Moderate 356,852 22.3 2,893,845 20.5 1.1*
High 200,483 12.5 1,139,855 8.1 1.5*
Very high 95,102 5.9 456,286 3.2 1.8*
Total 1,601,191 100.0 14,139,012 100.0

* Statistically significant.

a. Ages 18 and over only.
b. 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).
c. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.

Table 3: Pain experienced by people (a) with and without osteoarthritis, 2007–08
Level of bodily pain (b) With osteoarthritis
Number
With osteoarthritis
Per cent
Without osteoarthritis
Number
Without osteoarthritis
Per cent
Rate ratio (c)
Has bodily pain 1,470,725 91.2 9,624,870 64.2 1.4*
Very mild/mild 490,960 33.4 5,932,849 61.6 0.5
Moderate 601,543 40.9 2,508,821 26.1 1.6*
Severe/very severe 378,222 25.7 1,183,200 12.3 2.1*
No bodily pain 142,274 8.8 5,362,741 35.8 0.2
Total 1,612,999 100.0 14,987,611 100.0

* Statistically significant.

a. Ages 15 and over only.
b. Bodily pain experienced in the 4 weeks prior to interview.
c. Ratio of 'with osteoarthritis' rate to 'without osteoarthritis' rate.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS National Health Survey, 2007–08.


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.