- Often referred to as “wear and tear” on the bones.
- Almost half of all people over the age of 60 and virtually all over the age of 80 will have osteoarthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the third most common form of arthritis.
- Approximately 87,000 New Zealanders have RA and it can occur at any age.
Ankylosing Spondylitis
- AS is a type of Arthritis that affects one in six New Zealanders over the age of 15 year.
- It affects more men than women and can be hereditary.
- Fibromyalgia is a type of Arthritis that affects one in six New Zealanders over the age of 15 years.
- It affects more women than men.
-Gout is the second most common form of arthritis in New Zealand. It's not just your kai (food) that gives you gout; having a high level of uric acid is also in your genes.
- Gout is very treatable. Getting gout also means you have a higher chance of getting heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease, so a regular check-up is important for people who get gout.
- Lupus is a form of arthritis that can affect joints, muscles and even the skin
- About ten times more women than men get it
- Lupus can mimic many other conditions. Because of this, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose
- Scleroderma affects around one in a thousand New Zealanders
- Scleroderma affects more women than men
- Can occur at any age but the peak is 40–60 years
- Rarely occurs in more than one family member.

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’.

Forms of Arthritis

Find out about some of the most common types of arthritis.

Children with Arthritis

Read our information about Children with Arthritis


Looking for more information? Download one of our brochures.

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