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Arthritis care needs to be a greater priority

Thursday 2nd June 2016
Greater priority needs to be given to improving arthritis care in the UK, according to a new report. Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz via iStock
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Improvements to care and treatment for arthritis patients needs to be given greater priority in the UK, a new report has urged.

Research carried out by the charity Arthritis Care reveals that many arthritis patients are suffering in silence because they aren't aware of the treatment options available to them, with 28 per cent waiting as long as two years before seeking professional help.

Arthritis is thought to affect around ten million people in Britain, with inflammation causing pain in the joints. This could be in the knuckles, knees, ankles or hips, for example, meaning it is a condition that podiatrists often find themselves dealing with.

However, the survey results showed that more than half (52 per cent) of people with arthritis did not seek treatment from their GP or a specialist because it did not occur to them that the pain they were experiencing could be arthritis.

People aged between 40 and 64 were found to be the least likely to seek help for the condition, possibly due to believing they were too young to succumb to the debilitating illness.

The research also led to the discovery that less than three-quarters (72 per cent) of people only sought help when the pain became unbearable, while 61 per cent waited until their mobility was limited and 49 per cent only asked for assistance when the condition began to affect their enjoyment of life.

Judi Rhys, chief executive officer of Arthritis Care, commented: "Arthritis is an overlooked and underestimated condition, the pain it causes can be excruciating and its impact is often life-changing. People are needlessly enduring years of pain and fatigue, giving up the things they love and that give their life meaning and purpose."

With research predicting that the number of people living with arthritis will increase by 50 per cent by 2030, the charity is calling on the health service and the government to do more to educate people about arthritis and the help that is available.

Written by Angela Newbury

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