New Aihw Report: A Snapshot Of Arthritis In Australia 2010

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15th October 2010, 11:56am - Views: 1115

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Over 15% of Australians affected by arthritis as

population ages

More than 3.1 million Australians were estimated to be affected by arthritis in 2007–08,

according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare


The report, A snapshot of arthritis in Australia 2010, found that the prevalence of arthritis

increased from 13.6% in 2001 to 15.2% in 2007–08. 

‘This increase can be largely attributed to Australia’s ageing population,’ said Dr Naila

Rahman, of the AIHW’s National Centre for Monitoring Arthritis and Musculoskeletal


‘The rate of arthritis increases with age, especially after the age of 45, and is highest among

those aged over 75 years. An older population means a higher prevalence of the disease.’

Among these older groups, women make up a substantially higher proportion of sufferers. 

‘Overall, arthritis is seen mostly in women. However, in the younger age group—those aged

between 22 and 44 years—it is slightly more common in men,’ Dr Rahman said.

Other factors, such as socioeconomic status, were also found to affect the prevalence of the


‘Arthritis occurs less frequently among those living in high socioeconomic areas, compared

to Australians living in relatively low socioeconomic areas,’ Dr Rahman said.

‘A regional difference was also found, with the lowest rates of arthritis in major cities, and

inner regional areas recording the highest prevalence.’

Indigenous Australians were also found to have a higher prevalence of arthritis than other


There are over 100 types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis the most

common, affecting 1.6 million and 428,000 Australians respectively.

‘All types of arthritis can severely damage joints, but osteoarthritis in particular damages

large joints such as the knee and hip,’ Dr Rahman said.

‘Osteoarthritis is also the major factor underlying joint replacements, most notably of the

knee or hip,’ she said.

Between 2000–01 and 2007–08, the number of knee replacements increased by 67%, while hip

replacements increased by 40% over the same period.

Arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions accounted for around $4 billion in health

expenditure in 2004–05. Arthritis is also the eighth most frequently managed problem by

general practitioners in Australia.

Canberra, 13 October 2010

Further information: Dr Naila Rahman, tel. 02 6244 1057, mob. 0403 336 293

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer 02 6244 1032

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