Britain is facing a "tsunami" of pain as the number of osteoarthritis cases soars in the future, a leading expert has warned.
Increased life expectancy and rising levels of obesity mean osteoarthritis cases are set to double to more than 17 million by 2030, the charity Arthritis Care has predicted.
The warning was made after a survey commissioned by the charity showed 71% of the UK's 8.5 million osteoarthritis (OA) sufferers are in some form of constant pain and one in eight describes the pain as often "unbearable."
Philip Conaghan, professor of musculoskeletal medicine at the University of Leeds, predicted that millions more people would soon be affected by the joint-related illness because of an ageing population and a growing obesity problem.
An online survey of 2,001 people with osteoarthritis, conducted between November and December last year found that:
- People with osteoarthritis face £2.6 billion in extra costs a year as a result of paying for medical prescriptions, heating bills and transport costs.
- Thethe average age of diagnosis was 57 but as many as one in five are now being diagnosed aged younger than 45.
- 52% said they had given up or reduced walking since being diagnosed with the condition and 44% said they did no exercise at all.
- One in five had to give up work or retire early because of their symptoms.