ARTHRITIS - The Facts

Arthritis is a disease affecting joints and sometimes other tissues. Inflammation may or may not be a feature. There are more than 100 different types of Arthritis. Arthritis is most common in the elderly, but it affects people of all ages.

There are more than 200 types of arthritis and rheumatic disease, and more than seven million people in the UK have long-term health problems due to arthritis or a related condition. Not only adults are affected - one child in every thousand has arthritis. Arthritis is the second most common cause of time off work in both men and women.

  • • More than 7 million adults in the UK (15% of the population) have long-term health problems due to arthritis and related conditions
  • • Almost 9 million people in the UK (19% of the population) visited their GP in the past year with arthritis and related conditions
  • • More than 2 million people visited their GP in the past year because of osteoarthritis. The number of people with osteoarthritis has risen over the past 10 years as the population ages, and more people are now seeking their GP's help

The cost to the UK alone, of arthritis and related conditions:

  • • 206 million working days were lost in the UK in 1999-2000
  • • £2.4 billion was paid in incapacity benefit in 2001
  • • £98 million was paid to people claiming severe disablement allowance in 2001
  • • Cost of community and social services was £389 million and £1.3 billion respectively in 2001
  • • NHS expenditure on arthritis increased by only 5% between 1990 and 1999, compared with an increase of 19% in the total NHS budget
  • • Cost of GP consultations was £307 million in 2000
  • • Cost of drugs prescribed was £341 million in 2000
  • • Costs of rheumatology in hospitals was £259 million in 2000
  • • Cost of hip and knee replacements was £405 million in 2000
  • • These costs total £5.5 billion

But staggeringly Almost nine-tenths of people with arthritis or joint pain (87%) are not under the care of a rheumatologist or orthopaedic surgeon.

Sources:
SOURCE: Asthma UK