Arthritis and Osteoporosis Statistics

Australia's Health 2016 is the 15th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Based on the data collected via the Australian Bureau of Statistics' National Health Survey, Australia's Health 2016 profiles health issues in a collection of feature articles and statistical snapshots that cover a range of areas, including: the health status of Australians; health expenditure and the major causes of ill health (alongside many other areas).

Australia's Health 2016 again highlighted that arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions are among some of Australia's most prevalent and costly diseases. Below is a summary of the findings from the AIHW report.

Arthritis and Osteoporosis in Australia

In Australia ~6.9 million (30%) people have a forms of arthritis, or other musculoskeletal conditions.

Arthritis (~ = approximately)

  • There are over 120 conditions which fall under the umbrella term of arthritis.
  • In Australia ~3.5 million (15%) people have a form of arthritis, with the majory of those affected being of working age or younger.  
    • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis affecting ~2million Australians
    • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory (autoimmune) arthritis, affecting ~406,000 Australians
    • ~6,500 Australian children aged (0-17 years) have a form of juvenile arthritis, making it as common as type 1 diabetes for the same age group
    • Twice as many women have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis compared to men.
  • The proportion (%) of persons with arthritis is greatest amongst those living in inner regional areas
    • ~20% (~833,000) of all people living in inner regional areas have a form of arthritis
    • ~ 18% (~442,000) of all people living in outer regional and remote areas have a form of arthritis
    • ~13% (~2.2 million) people living in major cities have a form of arthritis

Osteoporosis

  • ~801,000 (3%) Australians have osteoporosis
  • For people aged of 55 years, 5 times as many women as men had osteoporosis, or osteopenia

  • The proportion (%) of persons with osteoporosis is greatest amongst those living in inner regional areas.
    • ~4% of all people living within inner regional areas have osteoporosis
    • ~ 3% of all people living within outer regional and remote areas have osteoporosis
    • ~3% of all people living within major cities have osteoporosis

Comorbidity 

  • 3 in 4 people with arthritis have at least one other chronic condition
  • 48% of people with arthritis have cardiovascular disease, 33% have back pain and 27% have a mental health condition
  • Arthritis with cardiovascular disease is the most common comorbidity pairing among people aged over 45 years and over in Australia

Health Care:

  • 24 million general practice visits involved the treatment of arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions in 2014/15
  • Between 2004/5 - 2013/14 hospitalisations due to arthritic conditions increased by: 
    • 131% for juvenile arthritis
    • 54% for rheumatoid arthritis
    • 15% for osteoarthritis
    • 20% for osteoporosis-related minimal trauma fracture

Arthritis and Osteoporosis in Queensland 

Arthritis

  • In Queensland ~608,000 (~15%) people have a form of arthritis
    • ~68,000 are aged 25 - 44 years
    • ~264,000 are aged 45 - 64 years
    • ~276,000 are aged 65+ years
    • Limited data is available regarding the prevalence of arthritis amongst those aged 0 -24 years.
  • The proportion (%) of persons with arthritis in Queensland is greatest amongst those living in inner regional areas
    • ~17% (~167,000) of all people living in inner regional areas have a form of arthritis
    • ~16% (~110,000) of all people living in outer regional areas have a form of arthritis
    • ~ 11% (~338,000) of all people living in major cities have a form of arthritis

Osteoporosis

  • In Queensland ~142,000 (3%) people have osteoporosis
    • ~67,000 are aged 45-64 years
    • ~78,000 are aged 65+ years
    • limited data is available regarding the prevalence of osteoporosis for those aged 0 - 44 years
  • The proportion (%) of persons with osteoporosis in Queensland is greatest amongst those living in inner regional areas
    • ~5% (~50,000) of all people living in inner regional areas have osteoporosis
    • ~ 2% (~78,000) of all people living in major cities have osteoporosis
    • Limited data is available regarding the proportion of people with osteoporosis living within outer regional and remote areas

Arthritis and disability

This research, released on World Arthritis Day 2014, was conducted by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) for Arthritis Australia. The nation-wide study examined the lived experience of 819 Australians with arthritis and related conditions.

  • Arthritis is the second leading cause of disability in Australia
  • Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in Australia and the most prevalent long-term health condition, affecting three million people of all ages or about 15 per cent of the population.
  • Nearly all participants (95 per cent) reported arthritis limited their ability to manage daily activities
  • One third of people with arthritis are unable to manage their home or garden, one in five unable to undertake domestic duties and five per cent requiring assistance with basic personal care, such as showering and dressing.  
  • Two in three people reporting that arthritis had affected the type and hours of work or study they were able to do and one in four reporting they were permanently unable to work or study due to their condition.
  • One in five participants reported struggling to meet their day to day expenses with many reporting they had to go without or delay health care visits or compromise on other basics such as food to meet the high costs of medication.

To view the full report, click here.


Sources

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2016). Australia's Health 2016. Accessed from http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=60129555544

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 - Australia. Accessed from from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4364.0.55.0012014-15?OpenDocument

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2015). National Health Survey: First Results, 2014-15 - Queensland. Accessed from http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4364.0.55.0012014-15?OpenDocument

Bates, S., Smedley, C., Wong, M., Kayess, R. & Fisher, K. R. (2014). Arthritis and disability (SPRC Report 26/2014). Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Australia.