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World Arthritis Day 12th October - Arthritis is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK

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Cases of osteoarthritis in the UK will double to over 17 million by 2030, as over half of the UK population will be aged 50 or older and nearly the same proportion will be overweight.

The world theme for World Arthritis Day is “It is in your hands - take action”.

The word arthritis actually means joint inflammation (there are more than 100 different types of arthritis) and the most common type of arthritis in the UK is osteoarthritis, in particular osteoarthritis of the spine. In addition, certain occupations involving repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Also, damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint.

Arthritis is much more common among people who have other chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.  Some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, can affect multiple organs and cause widespread symptoms.

Non-modifiable risk factors include:

  • Age: The risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age.

  • Gender: Most types of arthritis are more common in women; 60% of the people with arthritis are women.

  • Genetic: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis.

Facts and statistics:

  • People can reduce their risk of osteoarthritis by controlling their weight and exercise

  • There are over 100,000 GP consultations every day in the UK about arthritis

  • 8.75 million people in the UK have sought treatment for osteoarthritis

  • 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis

  • 4.11 million people in England have osteoarthritis of the knee

  • Around 400,000 adults have rheumatoid arthritis in the UK

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is more common in women than men by a factor of 3:1

  • There are approximately 20,000 new cases of rheumatoid arthritis in the UK every year

You cannot always prevent arthritis but regular exercise and a balanced diet, as well as a healthy workstation will minimise risks.