Osteoarthritis is a source of silent suffering for many Australians. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, at least one in eleven Australians suffer from the condition. And, while it is most common in those aged forty-five and above, osteoarthritis has been known to occur even in children and young adults.
As the third leading reason for visits to a general practitioner in Australia, it is the primary contributing factor in knee and hip replacement surgery and a common reason for lifetime dependency on pain relieving medications.
Because osteoarthritis affects motor skills, it is known to be debilitating even in early stages of the condition, and having osteoarthritis can easily stop sufferers from working or even performing regular everyday activities.
Those with osteoarthritis can find it difficult to obtain the right insurance cover as it is an irreversible condition which worsens over time, it can often only be alleviated through surgery and it may require continued absence from work.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and want to find the right insurance for your needs, Special Risk Managers are here for you. We are industry leaders when it comes to obtaining insurance policies for those with chronic health conditions, helping people from all walks of life to understand their insurance options.
A Closer Look at Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis – the breakdown of cartilage in-between the joints in the body – is the most common musculoskeletal disorder affecting Australians today.
Osteoarthritis is typically caused by ageing and symptoms do not often arise until later in life, although physical trauma can accelerate cartilage degradation, and excessive stress on the joints dramatically increases the risk of development.
Most cases lead to gradual bone damage, thickening and friction which can cause joint stiffness, pain and fatigue in the surrounding muscles and ligaments that is so strong it prevents movement.
The most commonly affected areas are the hips and knees as these are the body’s main weight-bearing joints. Problems can also arise in the hands, spine, hips, knees and ankles.
Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of pain and disability in the community, and it is the condition with the highest probability of requiring joint replacement surgery of the hip and knee.
As a potentially debilitating condition which often leads to complicated medical procedures and ongoing pain management regimes, it is important to get the right cover for osteoarthritis as it can easily put patients in difficult financial situations.
Osteoarthritis Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of osteoarthritis may vary depending on the person. The Arthritis Foundation lists pain and stiffness as the most common symptoms. Affected joints may get swollen, especially after extended activity. These symptoms tend to build over time rather than show up suddenly. Some of the common symptoms include:
– Limited range of motion or stiffness that goes away after movement
– Clicking or cracking sounds when a joint bends
– Mild swelling around a joint
– Pain that is worse after activity or toward the end of the day
Many people believe that the effects of osteoarthritis are inevitable, so they don’t do anything to manage it. However, symptoms can hinder work, social life and family life even more if steps are not taken to prevent joint damage, manage pain and increase flexibility.
If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, know that you are not alone and that help is available. Special Risk Managers have advisors ready to match you with health cover personalised to your specific situation.
Who is Most at Risk of Developing Osteoarthritis
No single contributing factor leads to the onset of osteoarthritis. The natural degradations of cells, muscles and bones in the body that occur with age are not solely responsible, rather a culmination of risk factors are at play.
The following factors are known to accelerate development:
– Prior physical trauma: Ligament tears increase the risk of subsequent development of osteoarthritis by 5-10 times
– Obesity: For every two units of Body Mass Index gain (approximately 5 kg) risk of osteoarthritis of the knee is increased by 36%
– Occupational overuse: Excessive activity and frequent minor injury have always been understood to be significant factors in the development of osteoarthritis
– Metabolic or Inflammatory Disorders: Pre-existing joint conditions can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis Treatment and Prognosis
Lifestyle management programs (physiotherapy/dieting) are often recommended for patients who are diagnosed with osteoarthritis early. These regimes help decrease risk factors that contribute to developing chronic musculoskeletal degradation.
Unless sufferers are diagnosed early, the most common treatment prescribed by GPs in Australia is to refer the patient to an orthopaedic surgeon.
– 29% of patients with pre-existing osteoarthritis conditions are referred to physiotherapists for guided treatment programs aimed at reducing the chance of further complications arising.
– Alternative physical treatment methods may include therapeutic exercise and rehabilitation, intra-articular (joint) injection and acupuncture.
– 45% of patients with pre-existing osteoarthritis conditions are referred to orthopaedic surgeons for more drastic corrective surgery
– 85% of cases are prescribed medication to combat varying ranges of acute to chronic pain.
There is no cure at present, and with improved healthcare services, an ageing population will see cases of osteoarthritis continue to increase in the future.
Find the Right Osteoarthritis Insurance Policy Today
If you have arthritis and are finding it difficult to find the right insurance cover for your condition, Special Risk Managers can help you get the coverage you need. We specialise in obtaining policies for clients who have been previously declined or have special medical conditions that many insurance companies typically avoid. Whether you’re looking for advice on insurance comparison, which products provide the most appropriate protection for your case, or you just want to talk about your application, our experts will help you take the next step forward.
Just call us on 1300 66 53 56 to talk to one of our insurance specialists or send your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.