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The term 'arthritis' describes many conditions that affect joints, the tissue surrounding joints, and other connective tissue. The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The resulting pain, stiffness, swelling and/or deformity of the joints can substantially reduce quality of life.1
The arthritis data are based on a question in the Canadian Community Health Survey that asked respondents if they had arthritis, excluding fibromyalgia2.
In 2011, 17.0% of Canadians aged 15 and older – 12.7% of males and 21.2% of females - reported having been diagnosed with arthritis (Chart 1). Since 2007, the rate of males diagnosed with arthritis remained the same, while the rate of females with arthritis has increased.
Percentage diagnosed with arthritis, by sex, household population aged 15 or older, Canada, 2007 to 2011
Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.
Among both sexes, the percentage reporting arthritis increased with age. Females were more likely than males to have arthritis in all age groups, except those aged 35 to 44 (Chart 2).
Percentage diagnosed with arthritis, by age group and sex, household population aged 15 or older, Canada, 2010
Source: Canadian Community Health Survey, 2011.
The proportion of residents aged 15 years and over who reported that they had arthritis was lower than the national average in Alberta (14.4%), British Columbia (14.9%), Northwest Territories (12.4%3), and Nunavut (11.4%3). Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Ontario reported arthritis at a higher level than the national average.
Because of the strong relationship between age and arthritis, a province or territory with a disproportionately 'younger' population would be expected to have an arthritis rate below the national average. Conversely, a province or territory with an 'older' population should have a higher arthritis rate than the national average. To remove the effect of different age distributions, the arthritis rates were recalculated as if the age groups in each province and territory were the same as at the national level.
Based on these calculations, Quebec and British Columbia became the only provinces where arthritis rates were lower than the rate for Canada, and Nova Scotia and Ontario remained the only provinces where arthritis rates were higher than the rate for Canada.
- The Arthritis Society. http://www.arthritis.ca (accessed May 10, 2010).
- From 2001 to 2005, the survey question included the word "rheumatism."
- Use with caution (coefficient of variation 16.6% to 33.3%).
The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca (accessed May 10, 2010).
Wilkins, Kathryn. 2004. "Incident arthritis in relation to excess weight." Health Reports. Vol. 15, no. 1. Fall. Statistics Canada no. 82-003. pages 39–49. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2004/6764-eng.pdf (accessed May 10, 2010).
Wilkins, Kathryn. 1999. "Hormone replacement therapy and incident arthritis." Health Reports. Vol. 11, no. 2. January. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. pages 49–57. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/1999/4735-eng.pdf (access May 10, 2010).
Additional data from the Canadian Community Health Survey are available from CANSIM table 105–0501.
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