Health & lifestyle
GPs see it all, from a broken leg to a simple cold, but what do you think is the reason for about a quarter of doctor’s appointments in Australia? It’s arthritis and osteoporosis. This is because arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with more than four million Australians affected. According to Arthritis Australia, the three most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout which together account for more than 95 per cent of cases in Australia.
Arthritis is often talked about as “a normal part of ageing” but it isn’t. In fact, anyone can get arthritis and most people with arthritis are aged between 15 and 60.
Interview with Professor Peter Brooks from Arthritis Australia
Professor Peter Brooks from Arthritis Australia talks about arthritis in the following series of videos.
In this first video Professor Peter Brooks answers the following questions:
- What is arthritis?
- Who is affected by arthritis?
- What causes arthritis?
- What impact does arthritis have on lifestyle?
- Is arthritis reversible?
In this next video Prof Brooks discusses the following topics:
- Slowing the onset of arthritis
In this last video Prof Brooks talks about how to live well with arthritis.
For more information:
If you have any questions or would like more information on the video content above, please contact Arthritis Australia:
1800 011 041
Presenter: Professor Peter Brooks
Prof Brooks is on Arthritis Australia's Scientific Advisory Committee. He is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Interim Director, Australian health workforce Institute - University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland. He is the author of more than 300 publications in the areas of rheumatic diseases, drug therapy and psychological aspects of chronic disease.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the name given to a group of conditions that affect the joints. Arthritis can affect any joint in the body and how it affects those joints can vary from person to person. Some of the commonly-shared symptoms include pain, weakness, stiffness, instability and deformities. In addition, general symptoms such as tiredness and weight loss can form part of an arthritis diagnosis.
For someone with arthritis the simplest daily tasks can be difficult or painful to achieve, things many of us take for granted, such as walking, cooking and driving.
Living with arthritis
Although there is no cure for arthritis you can minimise the impact on your life. Arthritis Australia has a downloadable booklet, 10 Steps For Living Well With Arthritis, which can be downloaded to help you take an active role in understanding and treating the condition. It may help you to experience less pain and stay more active.
Some people with arthritis might also find that their mood is affected by the symptoms. Although lowered mood and increased irritability might not be actual symptoms of arthritis, it is not uncommon for people with a chronic illness, such as arthritis, to experience some emotional difficulties. Getting the right support for your mental health and well-being might also need to form part of any treatment plan.
Of course, not all joint pain is arthritis. Sometimes joints are injured in the activities we do, such as sport or heavy lifting. But when pain and stiffness begins to develop in the joints for no clear reason and lasts for more than a few days, then it is time to get it checked by a doctor. A doctor can investigate the symptoms and determine what might be causing the pain and how best to treat it.
A healthy lifestyle will reduce the risk of many chronic diseases, including arthritis. A healthy diet and weight, regular exercise, managing stress, limiting alcohol intake, not smoking and avoiding joint injuries, such as falls, can all help to delay or prevent the onset of arthritis.
So what are you doing to keep fit and healthy?
Want to know more?
To help you find out more about the causes, prevention and management of arthritis we have put together some relevant arthritis links and resources.
This article was based on information sourced from Arthritis Australia.