Health Professionals E-News

Issue 4 - December 2016

Health Professionals E-News - Issue 4

Welcome to the 4th edition of Arthritis Queensland's (AQ) Health Professionals E-News. This quarterly newsletter is designed to keep health professionals up-to-date with the latest from the world of arthritis.

If you would like any further information on these articles, please contact us on 1800 011 041 or

Interested in Writing for AQ

At AQ we are always looking for enthusiastic health professionals to contribute to our resources and services. If you would like to contribute to future editions of our Health Professionals E-News, or any AQ other resources, please contact us on 1800 011 041 or 

In this Issue

  • 18th Annual Health Professionals Seminar | Save the Date!!
  • Australia's Health 2016 | Summary of Key Arthritis Statistics
  • Introducing AQ's New Health Educator Paula Herlihen
  • Out and About | with AQ's Health Education Team

18th Annual Health Professionals Seminar 2017 | Friday 10th March, 2017

Registrations Open: Monday 12th January, 2017 
Translational Research Institute: 
37 Kent Street, Woolloongabba
For more information contact: 
(07) 3857 4200 | |
                                                               Click to zoom 

Australia's Health 2016 | Key Arthritis Statistics

Prepared by James Bayliss
Health Promotions Officer, Arthritis Queensland

"If Australia had a population of just 100 people, 56 would rate their health as 'excellent', or 'very good' and 29 as 'good'. However, 19 of us would have a disability, 20 a mental health disorder in the last 12 months, and 50 at least one chronic disease." - Barry Sandison, Director and CEO AIHW.

Australia's Health 2016 is the 15th biennial health report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).  This report provides a number of statistical snapshots that cover a range of areas, including: the health status of Australians; health expenditure; the major causes of ill health; determinants of health; health throughout the life span; health of Indigenous Australians; preventing and treating ill health; health system performance. The key statistics from this report relating to arthritis are outlined below.


  • 30% of Australians have arthritis and/or other musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions, totalling ~6.9million people
  • Arthritic conditions are most prevalent amongst inner regional Australia (~20%), followed by outer regional/ remote Australia (~18%) and major cities (~14%)
  • Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, ~2 million Australians have osteoarthirits
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most prevalent form of inflammatory arthritis, affecting ~406,000 people
  • Juvenile arthritis affects ~6,500 children aged 0-17 years , making it as common as type 1 diabetes for the same age group
  • Osteporosis affects ~801,000 Australians
  • Over twice as many women as men have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • People with arthritis are more likely to experience poor health, very high psychological distress and very severe pain when compared to the population in general
  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and arthritis is the most common comorbidity pairing among people aged 45 years and over
  • For people with arthritis,~79% had at least one other chronic condition: ~48% of people with arthritis had CVD, ~33% back pain and ~27% mental health conditions
  • ~21% of people aged under 65% with severe or profound core activity limitation had arthritis, compare to ~5.3% within the general population.
  • People with arthritis are also more likely to experience poor health, very high psychological distress and very severe pain, when compared to the baseline population

Health Care

  • 24 million general practice visits involved the treatment of arthritis and other MSK conditions in 2014/15
  • In 2013/14, the PBS paid $ 7.5 million in benefits for biological disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (bDMARD) for juvenile arthritis and $281 million for rheumatiod arthritis
  • Between 2004/05 and 2013/14,  hospitalisations due to arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions increased by:
    • ~131% for juvenile arthritis
    • ~54% for rheumatoid arthritis
    • ~20% for osteoporosis-related minimal trauma fracture 
    • ~15% for osteoarthritis

What is Missing From This Picture?

  • The prevention, management and treatment of these conditions beyond a hospital setting cannot be examined in detail because of a lack of information about primary health care
  • There is limited information on the use of vitamins, nutritional supplements and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as paracetamol, which are commonly used to manage arthritis and MSK conditions
  • Prescription pharmaceutical data is limited because of a lack of information regarding the diagnosis for which medications are prescribed
  • Information is also lacking regarding the overall costs of these conditions to individuals (for example, out-of-pocket costs and lost earning potential)

All the information above has been obtained from Australia's Health 2016. To read the full report, visit the AIHW website.

Introducing AQ's New Health Educator | Paula Herlihen 

Paula has worked in and around health and fitness/sports for the better part of the last 20 years. Her previous role as the national training and consumer support manager for a natural health company was widely varied and involved travel all around Australia, organising and implementing seminars and training workshops and hospital in-services, before moving into marketing, training, social media and website communications. Paula is currently undertaking (nearly finished!) a degree in Psychology, to add to a background in nursing and natural health. Paula is also a netball umpire and occasional coach.

Out and About with AQ's Health Education Team

Paula and James presenting to the Arthritis Queensland Sunshine Coast Support Group
Health Educator Paula addressing Arthritis Queensland's Toowoomba Support Group at their annual lunch
Professor Ranjeny Thomas speaking at AQ's World Arthritis Day event at the Translational Research Institute
Health Educator Paula with AQ President Dr Ian Dover, and Paediatric Rheumatologist Dr Navid Adib at World Arthritis Day