The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is
the Government of Canada’s premier agency for health
Through CIHR, the Government of Canada has invested
more than $43 million
in research on arthritis and
musculoskeletal diseases across Canada.
ò Arthritis consists of more than 100
different conditions, including lupus,
fibromyalgia, gout and scleroderma.
ò The most common type of arthritis in
Canada is osteoarthritis, affecting 3 mil-
lion Canadians, or one in every 10. Long-
term disability accounted for almost 80%
of the economic costs of arthritis in 1998,
at nearly $3.5 billion, the 35-64 year age
group incurred 70% of these costs.
ò Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most
common type of arthritis, affecting
300,000 Canadians, or 1 in 100. It is an
auto-immune disorder, in which the
immune system attacks healthy joints,
resulting in damage to cartilage, bone,
tendons and ligaments. Twice as many
women as men get rheumatoid arthritis. It
most commonly appears between the ages
of 25 and 50.
ò Two-thirds of those with arthritis are
women and nearly 60% are under the age
ò Chronic pain and reduced mobility and
function are the most common outcomes
of long-term arthritis.
ò For all age groups, arthritis disables
two to three times more workers than all
other chronic conditions.
ò Epidemiologists predict there will be
about 100,000 new cases of arthritis each
year for the next 30 years. It is estimated
that by 2026, more than 6 million
Canadians over the age of 15 will have
ò Musculoskeletal diseases (arthritis and
osteoporosis) cost Canadians $16.4 billion
every year, the second highest cost of dis-
ease after heart disease. Of this total, $2.6
billion is in direct costs, such as physician
and hospital care and drugs, and $13.7
billion is in indirect costs, including pre-
mature disability and death.
ò The economic burden of all muscu-
loskeletal conditions in Canada accounted
for 10.3% of the total economic burden of
all illnesses, but only 1.3% of health