| GEO Health|
| Arthritis a top cause of disability in Canada|
| Updated at: 1511 PST, Tuesday, July 20, 2010|
OTTAWA: Arthritis is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect a joint or joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
More than 4.2 million Canadians live with arthritis, according to a new federal report.
The Public Health Agency of Canada released its report, Life with Arthritis in Canada, on Monday. It describes trends on arthritis among Canadians over the age of 15.
More than four million Canadians aged 15 and older reported they had arthritis in 2007-2008, with three out of five being under 65, the report said.
Arthritis can have a major impact on individuals and their families, with people reporting fair or poor general and mental health, needing help with daily activities and limitations on work, community and social life.
"On average, over a quarter of men and women with arthritis between 25 and 44 years of age were not in the labour force because of their arthritis," the report said.
Among the report's findings: arthritis is among the leading causes of disability in Canada, costing the Canadian economy $6.4 billion every year in health-care expenses and lost work days. Long-term disability accounts for two-thirds of that.
Arthritis accounted for about six per cent of all hospitalizations in Canada in 2005 to 2006 (132,000 out of 2.2 million).
Joint replacements increased in Canada to 59,200 in 2005-2006. Nearly all of these were hip or knee replacements.
The report shows the devastating impact of arthritis on Canadian society, Steven McNair, president and CEO of The Arthritis Society, said in response to the publication.
The report was prepared in collaboration with arthritis groups in Canada, and was based on national population health surveys, provincial physician billing, drug databases, hospital admissions and mortality statistics.
Arthritis is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect a joint or joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.