When the doctor first tells you that you have arthritis, the reaction is often one of surprise – after all, you are not that old. However, more than half a million New Zealanders will be affected by arthritis at some time in their life. It is not an inevitable part of growing older. In fact, there are over 1000 children and young people under the age of twenty years affected by arthritis in New Zealand at any one time.
Consider these facts:
- Arthritis is a serious health condition with no known cure
- Arthritis is the single greatest cause of disability in New Zealand
- More than half a million people are affected by arthritis during their lifetime
- 25,440 New Zealanders will not be able to work this year due to their arthritis
- Children get arthritis too
- Women get arthritis more than men
- There are more than 100 different types of arthritis
- Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis
- Sports and other injuries can lead to arthritis
- You can do a lot for yourself to make coping with arthritis easier
In February 2010, Christine was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At first, she felt relieved. ‘At least, it has a name’, she said. ‘If I know what it is, I can fix it’. However, later she found out that you actually don’t ‘fix’ arthritis; you learn to live with it. ‘It’s all about balance,’ she said. ‘I try to be proactive. Arthritis is not going to control me. I am going to control it’.