Devastating impact of arthritis across all aspects of society is highlighted in new campaign

Nation's Joint Problems, Arthritis Research UK, arthritis campaign, arthritis magazine, arthritis informationThe current and future impact of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis on the economy, the NHS, families and individuals is revealed in a campaign from Arthritis Research UK. As part of the launch, The Nation’s Joint Problem Report has been released, which reveals the impact of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis in terms of:

Impact on the economy

Working days lost will increase from 25.1 million today to 25.9 million by 2030, equating to an annual £3.43 billion productivity hit to the economy.

Impact on the health service

The estimated cost to the NHS and the wider healthcare system, of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis is currently £10.2 billion. Over the next decade, about £118.6 billion will be spent on the conditions.

Impact on individuals

One-in-six people currently have osteoarthritis and/or rheumatoid arthritis, and this is predicted to rise to one-in-five by 2050.

Impact on families

Over 75% of people with all types of arthritis say that their family and social lives are compromised by the condition, 53% feel they are a nuisance to their families and 28% report a negative effect on physical intimacy with their partners.

Even though 88% of people with arthritis describe it as a debilitating and life-restricting condition, the report explains that the condition is largely invisible from the public. This is because:

  • It is hidden: 78% think others don’t understand the impact of the condition on their lives because they don’t look seriously affected
  • It has a stigma: 86% try hard not to let arthritis define them or their personality
  • It is dismissed as an old person’s disease; even though arthritis impacts people of all ages, 89% of people living with it believe the condition is viewed by society as being an inevitable, and even an acceptable, part of getting older.

Dr Liam O’Toole, Cheif Executive of Arthritis Research comments:

“There is a complete mismatch between the enormous impact arthritis has on individuals, their families and society and the attention, priority and resources society currently gives to it. As a result, people with arthritis do not get the help or support that they need. We are all losing out. Whether it’s an employer who loses out on the skills of an employee, a child who misses out on playing with their parents or grandparents, the strain on the NHS’s resources, or someone with arthritis who is trying to get through every day in pain, the impact of arthritis is being felt across the whole of society.”

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