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Arthritis at 'epidemic' level
Arthritis sufferer
Seven million in the UK suffer from arthritis
The number of people suffering from arthritis has hit "epidemic" proportions, but is still not taken seriously, a charity has claimed.

Figures released on Monday revealed that more than 7m people in the UK (15% of the population) have long term health problems related to arthritis.

It is the second most common cause for people taking sick leave, after mental health disorders.

But despite this, the charity Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC) said not enough cash is ploughed into fighting the condition.


It's time that arthritis is taken seriously

Fergus Logan, of ARC

More cash

The report reveals that 206m working days were lost in the UK in 1999-2000 because of arthritis - the equivalent to a loss of production of 18,114.

Fergus Logan, chief executive of ARC, said the new statistics made "frightening reading".

He promised the charity would be changing the way it allocated its cash to ensure better help for sufferers.

"Although there have been many improvements in quality of life for people with the condition as a result of our research, such as hip replacements, and the new anti-TNF drugs for rheumatoid arthritis, more must be done.

"We remain committed to finding a cure for arthritis but we clearly need to do more to translate the outcome of research into practical benefits

"It's time that arthritis is taken seriously."

Cost of care

He said the new figures revealed the scale of the problem and its cost to healthcare.

"Arthritis is of epidemic proportions in the UK yet is way down the list of everyone's health priorities.

"There isn't even a national system for monitoring statistics.

"Despite this, we have managed to provide an outline of the scale of arthritis in this country - and it makes frightening reading."

Launching the charity's new five-year strategic plan, called Research into Practice, Mr Logan said ARC would be setting up a new system to monitor and evaluate research and promote the charity.

See also:

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