It’s not just the elephant in the room – it’s a herd of elephants on the rampage. Osteoarthritis is a severe health issue that is only going to get worse. New Zealand needs to be much more proactive in acknowledging the seriousness of this debilitating condition.

“By 2040 as even Generation X begins to feel the impact of osteoarthritis there will be over 600,000 people with osteoarthritis in New Zealand- up from 406,000 in 2018 – a large increase due to the ageing of our population,” says Arthritis New Zealand CE Mr Philip Kearney.

In an article published by the NZMA in 2017, healthcare expenditure on osteoarthritis was described as unsustainable, and management was fragmented and episodic… with substantial regional inequity*

“Unfortunately, there is a common perception that joint replacement is an inevitable outcome of osteoarthritis. We have clients tell us they were told to go back to their GP when they are in so much pain they can no longer walk,” noted Mr Kearney.

“This ageing population requires much better care of osteoarthritis and failure to do so will be seen as open neglect of them”.

“We know that arthritis affects pain, mood, sleep, fatigue and other limitations on daily life, including mobility. Social isolation, depression and anxiety are associated with chronic pain which is common for those with moderate to severe osteoarthritis. In Australia arthritis is the second most common reason for people aged between 45 and 64 years of age leaving the workforce due to ill health” continued Mr Kearney (background information on osteoarthritis in New Zealand attached)

Concern at such management of osteoarthritis has led Arthritis New Zealand to invite Professor David Hunter, a world expert in osteoarthritis and a trailblazer in its management to visit New Zealand. Professor Hunter was a key advisor in the development of the New South Wales Managing Osteoarthritis Chronic Care programme – a programme which saw a reduction in surgical waitlists for joint replacement.

Such a result was achieved by providing access to clinical staff and health care services to support self-management through the development of individual plans for long term behaviour change, such as exercise programmes and weight reduction. This programme has significant implications for how the treatment of osteoarthritis in New Zealand can be significantly improved- (Information on this programme is attached)

“We have to stop burying our heads in the sand and recognise that osteoarthritis is a significant health concern and requires a national plan and management. Professor Hunter’s visit will help this process” concluded Mr Kearney.

*An Osteoarthritis model of care should be a national priority for New Zealand- J Baldwin, A Briggs, W Bagg, P Larmer- MZMJ Dec 2017

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Knee exercise for people with arthritis: video 2 of 7, the leg stretch.

As with any form of exercise, if you get a lot of pain with any of these exercises, stop and seek advice from a physiotherapist. You can also ask your GP to recommend suitable exercise, especially if you have had joint replacements. A physiotherapist can ensure you have been properly assessed and that your exercises are appropriate for you.
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Prof. David Hunter tells an #osteoarthritis group in Wellington that cost-effective interventions for reducing obesity include taxes on junk food and sugary products. ...

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Today, in Christchurch, was the first presentation to health professionals by #osteoarthritis expert Prof. David Hunter. He painted a picture of what effective osteoarthritis management and treatment can look like. More than 400,000 people in Aotearoa New Zealand have osteoarthritis. ...

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Average age of #osteoarthritis diagnosis in the 90s was 69yrs, in 2010s it's 55yrs - Prof. David Hunter presenting to health professionals in Christchurch

Māori chemist Brendon McIntosh is on a mission to bridge the gap between te ao Māori and their health professionals. https://t.co/EkOt186MHX

Do not miss this opportunity to flag osteoarthritis as a serious health concern for New Zealanders!
For more information, or to book a seat (at no cost), phone 0800 663 463 and speak to Adrienne, or email info@arthritis.org.nz

Great news for New Zealanders who are suffering from certain types of uveitis (a severe or chronic eye inflammation). From today a funded medicine is available. If you or someone you know suffers from this disease, visit your doctor to talk to them about treatment options.

Patients w/ #gout are at increased risk of chronic kidney disease #CKD & kidney failure, acc to new research led by Prof @austingstack of @UL @UL_Research @UL_GEMS @ULHospitals
https://t.co/ckNUEEg22Q

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