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As with arthritis, people with osteoporosis were more likely to rate themselves as being in poor health and reported higher levels of bodily pain than those who did not have osteoporosis. Nearly one in five (18.7%) people with osteoporosis aged 15 years or older rated their health as poor, compared to 3.5% of people who did not have osteoporosis. Around 29% of people with osteoporosis experienced severe or very severe pain compared to 8.6% of people who did not have osteoporosis. Of all people aged 18 years or over who had osteoporosis, 21.9% had high or very high levels of psychological distress, compared to 11.6% of people who did not have osteoporosis (graph 3.2).
Arthritis and osteoporosis are significant contributors to disability in Australia. In 2009, 6.5% of Australians had a disability primarily caused by musculoskeletal diseases, such as arthritis and osteoporosis. This proportion has declined slightly from 6.8% in 2003 (SDAC 2009).
One third (35.8%) of all people who had a disability due to arthritis or a musculoskeletal disease in 2009 had a specific limitation or restriction. Around two thirds (64.7%) of all people who had a disability due to arthritis and/or osteoporosis required assistance with performing daily activities.
People with arthritis or osteoporosis are more likely to not be in the labour force. Around 38% of all people aged 15 to 64 years who had arthritis or osteoporosis were not in the labour force in 2007-08, compared with only 19% of people who did not have arthritis or osteoporosis. Over two thirds (68%) of people who had a disability due to arthritis or osteoporosis and were aged 15 to 64 years had an employment restriction (for example, a restriction in the number of hours they were able to work, or the type of work they could do) (SDAC 2009). Of these, 48% were permanently unable to work.
Body Mass Index
Osteoarthritis most commonly affects weight bearing joints such as the hips, knees and ankles. Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for osteoarthritis (AIHW 2005). After adjusting for age, osteoarthritis was more common amongst obese men and women (10% and 14% respectively) compared with men and women who were underweight or normal weight (6% and 11% respectively), and with those who were overweight (8% and 12% respectively) (graph 3.3).
Physical inactivity has been identified as a behavioural risk factor for both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Around 71% of people with osteoarthritis, and 74% of people with osteoporosis did not meet recommended guidelines for physical activity in the last week, compared with 66% of people who did not have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis. However, people in the older age groups who had osteoarthritis and/or osteoporosis were more likely to meet recommended guidelines for physical activity than older people who did not have these conditions. Of those aged 45 years and over who had osteoarthritis and/or osteoporosis, 26% met physical activity guidelines (compared with 14.5% of people who did not have osteoarthritis and/or osteoporosis) (graph 3.4).
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