Arthritis sufferers have to wait 3 years to be diagnosed condemning them to 'unbearable pain'
Patients with osteoarthritis on average wait almost 3 years to be diagnosed and referred for treatment, according to a report by Arthritis Care.
More than a quarter of arthritis sufferers have to visit their GP at least 3 times to get a diagnosis, their report announced.
Patients with osteoarthritis, the most common form, wait an average of almost 3 years to get a diagnosis and be referred for treatment. The number of Britons suffering from the condition is expected to double over the next 20 years due to the increasing ageing population and higher levels of obesity.
There’s an estimated 8.5million people suffering with osteoarthritis, however it is expected to reach 17million by 2030 according to the report by Arthritis Care.
A survey of 2,000 patients undertaken on behalf of the charity found that almost 75% are suffering in constant pain. With 1 in 8 said that their symptoms severely restricted their daily lives, preventing them from walking or going upstairs for example.
It was also reported that on average the patients waited 2.8 years from noticing their symptoms to being given a diagnosis by their GP. With 33% saying that the condition had forced them to take early retirement or substantially cut the number of hours worked.
Osteoarthritis, which usually develops after 50, causes damage to the sufferer’s cartilage (the smooth tissue covering joint surfaces) which then in turn leads to pain in the hips, knees, hands and feet. It is also more common among the overweight.
There is currently no cure but the pain can be reduced by regular exercise, weight loss and even complementary therapies such as acupuncture. With patients also taking regular painkillers such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Approximately 140,000 hip and knee replacements a year are performed on the NHS because of osteoarthritis.
The UK will face a tidal wave new osteoarthritis sufferers as the number of people aged over 50 increases and obesity levels continue to rise.
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