Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that mostly affects the hands, spine and joints such as hips, knees and ankles, and usually gets worse over time. It is the predominant condition leading to knee and hip replacement surgery in Australia.
1 in 11 Australians (9%) have osteoarthritis, approximately 2.1 million people in 2014–15
1 in 4 people with osteoarthritis self-reported fair or poor health, twice as much as people without the condition
38% rise in the rate of total knee replacements for osteoarthritis from 2005–06 to 2015–16
2 in 3 people who have osteoarthritis are female
Osteoarthritis can impact on every aspect of life, including an individual's ability to be independent, their social life, relationships and emotional wellbeing .
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%).
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).
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.
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.
As osteoarthritis progresses the capacity to participate fully in the workforce declines. This generally occurs gradually and mainly affects those aged 50 or older .
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.
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