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Aboriginal Peoples Living Off-Reserve

The 2000 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) asks: “People living in Canada come from many different cultural and racial backgrounds. Are you [an]…Aboriginal [person] of North America?” Those responding “yes” to this question are classified as Aboriginal people living off-reserve.

The CCHS, one of our main data sources, unfortunately does not survey Aboriginal people living on Indian reserves.i

Activity Limitation
Respondents to the 2000 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) were asked, “Because of a long-term physical or mental condition or a health problem, are you limited in the kind or amount of activity you can do: at home? at school? at work? in other activities?” (Yes/No). Those responding “Yes” reported some type of activity limitation.ii
Ambulatory Care
Ambulatory care refers to outpatient care that does not involve an overnight hospital stay.iii
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
Ankylosing spondylitis is inflammatory arthritis of the spine. It causes pain and stiffness in the back, along with bent posture. In most cases, the disease is characterized by acute painful episodes and remissions. Disease severity varies widely among individuals.iv
Arthritis and Related Conditions
“Arthritis and related conditions” refers primarily to osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and gout.v Please see a complete list of arthritis and related conditions.
Arthroscopic “Keyhole” Surgery
This type of surgery involves a tiny camera (arthroscope) that can be inserted in through a relatively small incision. This allows the surgeon to see inside and repair the joint without having to make a large incision. The most common site of arthroscopic surgery is the This surgery is an example of an orthopaedic procedure.
Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)

The Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) is a cross-sectional population survey. The CCHS Cycle 1.1 was conducted from 2000 to 2001 for Canadians over the age of 12 years. This survey is repeated every few years, and the latest version (Cycle 3.1) was collected in 2005. Most of the analyses ACREU carried out using CCHS data were for Canadians 15 years of age and older.

The survey asked questions about health status, health care utilization and determinants of health. The CCHS had a large sample size and is representative of all Canadians with the exception of those living on Indian Reserves, Crown lands, in institutions and in a few extremely remote areas. vii

Chronic Conditions

The 2000 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) defined long-term (chronic) conditions as those that have lasted or are expected to last 6 months or more and that had been diagnosed by a health professional.

These chronic conditions included food allergies, any other allergies, asthma, fibromyalgia, arthritis or rheumatism (excluding fibromyalgia), back problems (excluding fibromyalgia and arthritis), high blood pressure, migraine headaches, chronic bronchitis, emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (asked to those aged 30+), diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, cancer, stomach or intestinal ulcers, effects of a stroke, urinary incontinence, bowel disorder such as Crohn's Disease or colitis, Alzheimer's Disease or any other dementia (asked to those aged 18+), cataracts (asked to those aged 18+), glaucoma (asked to those aged 18+), thyroid condition, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, any other long term condition.viii

COX-2 Inhibitors
COX-2 inhibitors are used for pain relief in arthritis. They are a type of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). COX-2 inhibitors are available only by prescription and are still undergoing further research. The drugs Vioxx® and Celebrex™ are COX-2 inhibitors. Read more.
The Canadian Participation and Activity Limitation Survey (PALS) defines a person as disabled if their “everyday activities are limited because of a health-related condition or problem”
Disease-Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drug (DMARD)
DMARDs are used primarily to prevent the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, and have proven to be very effective in preventing lasting bone and joint damage. DMARD therapy is recommended as the primary treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, but severe side effects remain a concern.ix See a list of DMARDs.
Gastrointestinal refers to the digestive tract, including the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid is normally flushed out by the kidneys. Gout often affects the big toe but can also affect the ankle, knee, foot, hand, wrist or elbow.x
Health Adjusted Life Expectancy (HALE)
HALE is a measure of population health that takes into account both mortality and morbidity. HALE adjusts overall life expectancy, or life years lived according to the amount of time spent in less-than-perfect health or with disability. It sheds more meaning on longer life by determining whether an increase in the average lifespan is accompanied by better quality of life.xi
The number of instances of disease or a health problem commencing, or of persons falling ill, during a given period in a specified population.xii
Inflammatory Arthritis
Inflammatory arthritis is arthritis that causes significant inflammation of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of inflammatory arthritis. Other types of inflammatory arthritis are psoriatric arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and Reiter’s syndrome (reactive arthritis).
Mortality Rate
A mortality rate is a measure of the number of deaths in a defined population over a defined period of time. A disease-specific mortality rate refers to the number of deaths due to a specific cause, in a defined population over a defined period of time.
Morbidity refers to disease, or any departure from health and well-being.
The term musculoskeletal refers to the muscles and bones.
Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID)
NSAIDs are medications used to decrease pain and inflammation. There are two categories of NSAIDs: conventional NSAIDs, and COX-2 inhibitors. Conventional NSAIDs can be prescription or over-the-counter, for example Ibuprofen or Naproxen. COX-2 inhibitors are available only by prescription and are still undergoing further research. The drugs Vioxx® and Celebrex™ are COX-2 inhibitors.xiii See a list of DMARDs.
Orthopaedic Procedures
The orthopaedic procedures we refer to in these fact pages are arthritis-related surgical interventions that deal with correcting and preventing injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The most common orthopaedic procedures are hip and knee replacement surgeries. See a complete list of arthritis-related orthropaedic procedures.
Osteoarthritis (OA)
Osteoarthritis results from deterioration of the cartilage in one or more joints. OA leads to joint damage, pain, and stiffness. It typically affects the hands, feet, knees, spine and hips.xiv
The number of instances of a given disease or other condition in a specified population at a designated time. The term usually refers to the situation at a specified point in time.xv
Primary Care
Primary care refers to the first contact a patient has with the health care system, before being referred elsewhere. “Family doctors” and emergency departments are common sites for primary care.
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the body’s immune system attacking the body’s joints, in particular the hands and feet. This leads to pain, inflammation and joint damage. RA may also affect other organ systems such as the eyes, heart and lungs. Rheumatoid arthritis is sometimes referred to as inflammatory arthritis.xvi
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a connective tissue disorder causing skin rashes and joint and muscle swelling and pain. SLE fluctuates over time, with flare-ups and periods of remissionxvii
  1. Arthritis in Canada. September 2003. Glossary, p. 100
  2. Ibid., p. 101
  3. Ibid., Chapter 4, p. 51
  4. Ibid., Chapter 1, p. 4, Table 1-1
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid., Chapter 6, p. 78
  7. Ibid., Glossary, p. 99
  8. Ibid., p. 101
  9. Ibid., Chapter 5, p. 65
  10. Ibid., Chapter 1, p. 4, Table 1-1
  11. Ibid., Glossary, p. 102
  12. Ibid., p. 103
  13. Ibid., Chapter 5, p. 65
  14. Ibid., Chapter 1, p. 4, Table 1-1
  15. Ibid., Glossary, p. 104
  16. Ibid., Chapter 1, p. 4, Table 1-1
  17. Ibid.