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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 ABS 2014–15 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 2.3 times as likely to report their health as poor (7.9%) compared to those without osteoarthritis (3.5%).

Figure 1: Self-assessed health of people aged 15 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that, people aged 15 and over with osteoarthritis were less likely to perceive their health as excellent, very good or good than people without osteoarthritis. People with osteoarthritis were 2.3 times as likely to report their health as poor (7.9%) compared to those without osteoarthritis (3.5%).

Note: Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey, 2014–15 (Data table).

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 5.4 times as likely to report very high levels of psychological distress (17%) than those without the condition (3.2%) according to the 2014–15 NHS.

Figure 2: Psychological distress experienced by people aged 18 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that, people aged 18 and over with osteoarthritis were 5.4 times as likely to report very high levels of psychological distress (17%) than those without osteoarthritis (3.2%).

Note: Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey, 2014–15 (Data table).

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 4.3 times as likely to report very severe pain (5.2%) compared with those without the condition (1.2%) according to the 2014–15 NHS.

Figure 3: Pain experienced by people aged 18 and over with and without osteoarthritis, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that people aged 18 and over with osteoarthritis were 4.3 times as likely to report very severe pain (5.2%) compared with those without osteoarthritis (1.2%).

Note: Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey, 2014–15 (Data table).

Workforce participation

As osteoarthritis progresses the capacity to participate fully in the workforce declines. This generally occurs gradually and mainly affects those aged 50 or older [5].

According to the 2014–15 National Health Survey, people aged 15–64 with osteoarthritis were 1.5 times as likely as those without the condition not to be in the work force.

Figure 4: Work force participation of people aged 15–64 with and without osteoarthritis, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that people aged 15–64 with osteoarthritis were 1.5 times as likely as those without osteoarthritis not to be in the work force (29% and 19% respectively).

Note: Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey, 2014–15 (Data table).


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.