Arthritis facts

Arthritis facts

What is arthritis?

Did you know that while many people think of arthritis as a single disease, it is actually a broad term used to describe more than 100 conditions which affect the joints?

Arthritis is a leading cause of chronic pain and disability in Australia. Over 3.85 million Australians are affected by arthritis every year (AIHW 2010).  The three most common forms of arthritis are; osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. Between them, these three conditions make up more than 95% of arthritis cases across the country.

Who is affected?

Many people think that arthritis only affects older people. This isn’t true. In fact, arthritis affects people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles. Many children and young people live with arthritis every day. In Australia, two out of three people with arthritis are aged between 15 and 60 years old. Nearly 6 out of every 10 people with arthritis are females (AIHW 2010).

How does arthritis affect people?

Arthritis affects different people in different ways, however it usually results in:

  • Pain, stiffness and reduced movement in the joints
  • Swelling in a joint
  • Redness and ‘warmth’ in a joint
  • General feelings of tiredness or feeling unwell
  • Weight loss.
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of diabetes mellitus
  • Increased risk of heart disease and obesity
  • Insomnia

People living with arthritis can also experience:

What can you do?

While there is no known cure for arthritis, there are a number of things that you can do to stay on top of it. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare  (AIHW, 2010) has identified the following three issues as being crucial in the prevention and management of arthritis:  Three basic principles in preventing arthritis, in particular osteoarthritis, are to:

  • Control your weight
  • Keep fit and active
  • Protect joints.



This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments, diet, recipes, lifestyle and exercise. Any information provided is not advice, and should not be treated as such. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue or change medical treatment because of information on this website, unless advised by your doctor. Read full disclaimer.

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