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  • Most arthritics have other conditions

    Author: AAP

Most people with arthritis have other chronic conditions, with cardiovascular disease topping the list.

Three-quarters of Australians with arthritis also have at least one other chronic condition.

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They include cardiovascular disease, back problems, mental health problems, asthma, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cancer, says the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

About 3.3 million Australian, or one in every seven people, reported having some form of arthritis in 2011-12, while 2.4 million of these also had another chronic condition.

Many have more than one other condition, including 16 per cent of people with arthritis aged over 45 who have three or more other chronic conditions.


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The information, released on Tuesday, is based on self-reported data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011-12 National Health Survey.

Two or more conditions at the same time are referred to as "co-morbidities".

"Having multiple chronic health problems is often associated with worse health outcomes, a poorer quality of life, and more complex clinical management and increased health costs," said AIHW spokesperson Louise York.

"However, by studying co-morbidities, there is great potential for integrating prevention and treatment, to keep people healthy for as long as possible."

- 44 per cent have cardiovascular disease, 29 per cent back problems, 22 per cent mental health problems, 14 per cent asthma and 13 per cent diabetes;
- 23 per cent are current smokers, compared with 16 per cent of those without arthritis;
- 21 per cent are physically inactive, compared with 18 per cent of those without arthritis; and
- 32 per cent are obese, compared with 22 per cent without.


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