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Arthritis Compromises Daily Function and Stirs Dependence Fears

Survey finds that this common ailment has a big impact on quality of life

ROCKLIN, Calif., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Most people expect some aches and pains due to arthritis as they age, but a new survey by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) finds that many with arthritis face significant disability due to the condition.  In addition, those with arthritis live with fears about the course of their condition.  In combination, these factors erode quality of life.

The survey collected responses over three weeks in August, 2012, from 369 people who have been diagnosed with arthritis by a health care professional. Of all respondents 66% have osteoarthritis, 15% have rheumatoid arthritis, 28% have gout, and 4.5% have psoriatic arthritis. The majority have experienced arthritis pain for the past five to ten years.  Two-thirds of the respondents were female and one-third males. The majority, 88%, were white with almost 75% of them having a college degree or higher education.  Thirty-six per cent were disabled while 27% were employed full time.

Respondents reported significant life limitations due to their conditions. Walking was severely limited for 35% and moderately difficult for another 36%. Stairs were another challenge: 25% of the respondents were severely limited in going down stairs and 5% found it impossible; going up stairs was severely limited for 4.5% and 7.5% said they could not do it at all. 

The survey found that 30% had severe difficulty performing ordinary household tasks such as housework, shopping, yard work, and home maintenance and 5% could not perform them at all. Personal care was severely compromised for 10% and 2% could not manage basic care such as bathing, hair care, and dressing at all.

The emotional impact of living with arthritis may be even more significant. Fear of increasing pain worries 81.5% and 65% fear becoming dependent on others as their condition worsens.  The side effects of medications concern 68% and fear of fatigue (60%) and stiffness (65%) are additional concerns. More than half (59%) worry about daily tasks they are unable to complete due to their pain. 

These findings suggest that the inability to manage daily activities and the fear of an even more compromised future significantly affect quality of life for the millions who live with arthritis today and the millions more who will deal with it as our population ages.  

About the ACPA 
The American Chronic Pain Association is a non-profit organization that has been helping people live fuller lives in spite of pain since 1980.  We provide them with the tools they need, in addition to what their health care provider offers, to improve their skills in the self-management of their chronic pain.  In addition, we work to raise awareness among the health care community, policy makers, and the public at large about issues of living with chronic pain. Visit our web site at www.theacpa.org to preview our new tool, the Living with Arthritis Ability Chart: http://www.theacpa.org/uploads/documents/ACPA-Arthritis.pdf

 

SOURCE American Chronic Pain Association

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