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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.Note 1
The arthritis data are based on a question in the Canadian Community Health Survey that asked respondents aged 15 and over if they had arthritis,Note 2 excluding fibromyalgia.
In 2014, 16.5% of Canadians aged 15 and older (around 4.8 million people) reported that they had been diagnosed with arthritis by a health professional (Chart 1). The rate of arthritis has been fairly stable since 2007 - around 12% for males and around 19% for females.Note 3
Among both sexes, the percentage reporting arthritis increased with age, with the highest rates among those aged 75 or older. In 2014, females were more likely than males to have arthritis in all age groups starting at age 45. For those aged 15 to 44, there was no difference between the sexes (Chart 2).
One of the symptoms of arthritis is stiffness or pain in joints. In 2014, pain and discomfort was more than four times as likely amongst those with arthritis. Of the Canadians aged 15 and over with arthritis, 43.8% reported usually having pain or discomfort that prevented some to most of their activities,Note 4 compared with only 9.7% of those who did not have arthritis.
The proportion of residents aged 15 years and over who reported that they had arthritis was lower than the national average (16.5%) in:
The proportion of residents aged 15 years and over who reported that they had arthritis was higher than the national average in:
- Newfoundland and Labrador (25.4%)
- Prince Edward Island (21.2%)
- Nova Scotia (25.0%)
- New Brunswick (25.0%)
- Ontario (18.5%)
- Manitoba (19.3%)
Residents of the other provinces and the territories reported rates that were about the same as 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 when making provincial comparisons, please refer to the CANSIM table 105-0503 for the age standardized rates.
Wilkins, Kathryn. 2004. “Incident arthritis in relation to excess weight.” Health Reports. Vol. 15, no. 1. Statistics Canada no. 82-003. p. 39–49. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2004/6764-eng.pdf.
Wilkins, Kathryn. 1999. “Hormone replacement therapy and incident arthritis.” Health Reports. Vol. 11, no. 2. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. p. 49–57. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/studies-etudes/82-003/archive/1999/4735-eng.pdf.