Seven-in-10 Canadians fear getting arthritis, or fear they already have it

Arthritis Society Canada survey tackles the worry, prevalence and complexity of the chronic, incurable disease

TORONTO, Sept. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A new, national survey finds that seven-in-10 Canadians are worried about getting arthritis, or worried that they already have it. September is Arthritis Awareness Month and Arthritis Society Canada is taking the opportunity to connect with Canadians and promote research, advocacy, innovation, and awareness.

The Arthritis Awareness Survey was conducted by Arthritis Society Canada from a representative sample of 1,510 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. It was conducted to capture the sentiments that Canadians of all ages and regions hold toward the disease. In the study, three-quarters of Canadians (73%) responded that someone they know, or love suffers from arthritis.

Arthritis Awareness Survey results

  • 73% of Canadians know or love someone who suffers from arthritis.
  • 70% of Canadians fear getting arthritis or fear they already have it.
  • 40% say arthritis is just a normal part of aging. Quebec (51%) leads the country in this sentiment. Men (46%) are much more likely than women to say arthritis is just a normal part of aging (35%).

“We conducted this survey to gain insights into the perceptions around arthritis across Canada,” said Trish Barbato, President and CEO at Arthritis Society Canada. “The responses show us that people are concerned about arthritis, while also unclear about the facts of the disease.”

Canadians were also asked how many forms of arthritis there were. Here were their responses in the table below. Their responses – below – underscore the lack of understanding around the complexity of the disease:

How many forms of arthritis do you think exist?

Don’t Know/Not Sure45%
100 plus3%
Under 57%

“There are over 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases,” said Barbato. “This disease is not only common, but also terribly complex. If not treated effectively, arthritis can increase the risk for other serious conditions, including obesity, diabetes, heart and stroke, mental health, and many progressive disabilities. We really need to make people aware of the prevalence and impact of arthritis.”

Arthritis fast facts:

  • Arthritis is a chronic and debilitating disease that affects more people than cancer, diabetes, heart and stroke combined.
  • Arthritis can cause pain, degeneration, inflammation or swelling in the joints, restrict movement, and diminish quality of life.
  • Arthritis is often a silent battle, as many people with the disease aim to hide their pain due to the misconception of it being a disease of old age. Arthritis is not a disease of the old – in fact more than 50 per cent of Canadians with arthritis are under the age of 65.
  • September is Arthritis Awareness Month. It is an opportunity to shine a light on the realities of arthritis; the facts, the myths, the people impacted by this incurable disease and the need for action to fight against it.

“More than six million Canadians have arthritis – that’s one in five,” said Barbato. “If we do nothing, that number will soar to nine million by 2040. Together we can do better.”

About the survey
These are the findings of a survey conducted by Arthritis Society Canada from August 4 to August 8, 2023, among a representative sample of 1,510 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/-2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About Arthritis Society Canada
Arthritis Society Canada represents the six million Canadians living with arthritis today, and the millions more who are impacted or at risk. Fueled by the trust and support of our donors and volunteers, Arthritis Society Canada is fighting arthritis with research, advocacy, innovation, information and support. We are Canada’s largest charitable funder of cutting-edge arthritis research. We will not give up our efforts until everyone is free of the scorching pain of arthritis. Arthritis Society Canada is accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. For more information, to donate or to volunteer, visit    

Media Contacts

Megan Dunscombe

Zehra Goawala
Arthritis Society Canada