An ageing and increasingly obese population is contributing to the incidence of osteoarthritis, which is set to double to 17 million in the UK by 2030.
The charity, Arthritis Care, has released the results of their new survey, OANation 2012. The survey reveals that currently, there are 8.5 million people in the UK living with osteoarthritis. Seventy-one per cent of them are in constant pain, and one in eight report their pain as unbearable. Osteoarthritis most commonly affects the joints in the hips, knees and hands.
The survey predicts by 2030, over half of the UK population will be age 50 or older and obesity will increase from 16 million to 27 million people. These increased risk factors mean millions more people in the UK will soon have osteoarthritis.
Most people with osteoarthritis are diagnosed around age 57 and up to one in five are diagnosed at age 45 or younger. With average life expectancies now extending into the 80s and beyond, most people with osteoarthritis must live with joint pain for more than 30 years.
"Britain is facing a tsunami of pain due to osteoarthritis as the number of people over 50 increases dramatically and obesity levels continue to rise. Action is needed immediately; we have to bust this myth that painful joints are an inevitable part of getting older that we have to put up with." says Philip Conaghan, Professor of Musculoskeletal Medicine at the University of Leeds and a member of the Arthritis Care OANation 2012 advisory panel.
The OANation 2012 survey also found that:
-People with osteoarthritis have average annual costs of nearly £500 per person. Extra costs may include medical prescriptions, heating bills and necessary transportation costs.
-One in five people had to retire an average of 7.8 years early due to their symptoms.
-Almost half (44 per cent) said they did no exercise at all. This is despite advise from experts that exercise is one of the best ways to treat osteoarthritis.
-Of those who did exercise, 87 per cent said they felt the benefit.
“It’s frustrating that this survey reveals many people become less active when diagnosed with osteoarthritis, when all the clinical evidence available suggests this is the worst thing you can do because keeping moving can actually strengthen joints and improve symptoms. We have to make sure that patients get better information and advice about this,” says Professor Conaghan.
To access the full OANation 2012 report, see this link.