Key Facts and Figures
The more than 100 types of arthritis fall into two major groups:
- Osteoarthritis - Caused by a breakdown of cartilage in joints causing bones to rub together resulting in pain, stiffness and eventual loss of use. There are some forms of osteoarthritis that appear to be genetically driven, and others that are a result of injury, overuse or advanced age.
Inflammatory arthritis - is a general term used to describe autoimmune forms of the disease. In inflammatory arthritis, the body's own immune system attacks healthy joints and tissues, causing inflammation and joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. Other forms include ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus and many others.
In British Columbia, 15.3 percent of the population has arthritis. That is about 600,000 people aged 15 and over.
Arthritis is among the top three most common chronic illnesses in Canada and affects more adults than cancer, heart disease, respiratory conditions and spinal cord trauma, and has a serious impact on quality of life.
The direct cost of arthritis in Canada is estimated at $4.4 billion each year
Long-term disability accounts for almost 80% of the economic cost of arthritis. People aged 35-64 incurred 70% of these costs.
Why is arthritis on the rise?
By 2026, it is estimated that more than 6 million Canadians older than 15 will have arthritis, up from 4 million Canadians today. This is due to an increase in obesity, longer life expectancy and an aging baby boomer population.
Anatomy of a Joint