Arthritis affects more than half of the 85-plus population

A report from the AIHW stresses the importance of good medication management for older people with arthritis and osteoporosis.

More than half of people aged 85 and over suffer from some form of arthritis, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects up to one in three people aged 85 and over.

The report also found that the number of people with arthritis and osteoporosis is set to increase as the population ages in coming decades.

“We are not able to say the actual rate is increasing but as there are more and more older people, the absolute number of people with these chronic conditions will increase,” said Tracy Dixon from the AIHW.

“The data that we have suggests that the rates of arthritis haven’t really changed that much in the last ten years. For osteoporosis, the recorded rates seem to have increased but we rely on self-reporting for those figures and it does look like the figure has gone up because of better detection.”

The report noted that older people with arthritis and osteoporosis are likely to suffer from co-morbid conditions and are at risk of negative drug interactions.

“There are a lot of issues around the quality use of medicines among these groups,” said Ms Dixon

“People with osteoporosis can be on medicines that make them feel dizzy and drowsy which increases their falls risk.

“If they do fall and fracture themselves, that can be quite debilitating for people with this type of condition. It can be a life changing event.

“It is important that they regularly have medication reviews.”

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