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Arthritis takes a toll on quality of life

A new survey shows arthritis is negatively effecting people’s everyday life.  The survey looked at the overall health of those suffering with the pain of arthritis and found physical and mental health problems.

More than 50 million American suffers from arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation.  There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the majority of cases include inflammation of the joints, causing pain and limited movement.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, limiting the activities of nearly 21 million adults.

New information from this survey was based on data collected by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, representing more than 1 million U.S. adults.  The information was collected over the course of several years 2003, 2005, and 2007. Indicators of health-related quality of life included:

  • Overall health status
  • Number of physically unwell days in the past 30 days
  • Number of mentally unhealthy days in the past 30 days
  • Days in which daily activities were restricted by poor physical or mental health
  • Overall unhealthy days calculated from the sum of physically and mentally unhealthy days

The results
The survey showed 27% of people with arthritis reporter fair or poor overall health, and adults were more likely to have multiple days a month where their condition stopped them from doing what they wanted.  Researchers believe this survey should encourage doctors to create a treatment plan that does more than help with joint pain.

“Given the projected high prevalence of arthritis in the U.S., interventions should address both physical health and mental health,” Researcher Sylvia Furner, MPH, PhD, of the school of public health at the University of Illinois at Chicago said in a news release.“Increasing physical activity and increasing access to healthcare could improve the quality of life for adults with arthritis.”

The survey was published in Arthritis Care & Research.