More and more Australians each year face the pain associated with arthritis.

Experts have gathered at the Brisbane Convention Centre this week to hear about the latest advancements in both treatment and diagnosis.

By Paul Smeaton.


Almost four-million Australians suffer from arthritis, costing the health system just under $24-billion a year.

The disease takes many forms, some of which can prove debilitating.

Professor Andrew Cope, Kings College: “It’s one of the commonest chronic inflammatory conditions and if we don’t treat it early it leads to severe disability because the joints become destroyed.”

New genetic research though is helping specialists manage the disease.

Professor Andrew Cope, Kings College: “We’re now in a position to begin to predict individuals who may be at very high risk of developing disease and this is because of advancements in genetics and also immunology.”

While oOsteoarthritis is the most common of the disorders affecting up to 75 per cent of older Australians, rhumetoid arthirits afflicts people of all ages, often with long lasting affects.

Experts say that unless sufferers receive treatment within the first two years of developing symptoms up to two thirds of the group may be unable to continue work.

Some patients face a daily struggle with chronic pain.

Bradley Jones, Arthritis sufferer: “If I had to stand up from my desk to walk even five feet it was a new experience in pain.”

Those suffering symptoms are encouraged to seek treatment early.

Bradley Jones, Arthritis sufferer: “I guess my biggest thing is, if anyone is suffering from arthritis is to be proactive and seek treatment, manage it, it won’t go away if you don’t treat it properly.”

Paul Smeaton, QUT News