Britain is facing a “tsunami” of pain as the number of osteoarthritis cases soars in the future, a leading expert has warned.
Increased life expectancy and rising levels of obesity mean osteoarthritis cases are set to double to more than 17 million by 2030, the charity Arthritis Care has predicted.
The warning was made after a survey commissioned by the charity showed 71% of the UK’s 8.5 million osteoarthritis (OA) sufferers are in some form of constant pain and one in eight describes the pain as often “unbearable”.
Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine at the University of Leeds, predicted that millions more people would soon be affected by the joint-related illness because of an ageing population and a growing obesity problem.
“Britain is facing a tsunami of pain due to osteoarthritis as the number of people over 50 increases dramatically and obesity levels continue to rise,” he said.
“Action is needed immediately - we have to bust this myth that painful joints are an inevitable part of getting older that we have to put up with.”
The online survey of 2,001 people with osteoarthritis, conducted between November and December last year, found the average age of diagnosis was 57 but as many as one in five are now being diagnosed aged younger than 45.