Nearly half of rheumatoid arthritis patients are forced to stop work at some stage

“People with arthritis often feel that even their friends and family do not fully understand the daily challenges that they face,” said Gráinne O’Leary from Arthritis Ireland

Thu, Aug 28, 2014, 10:48

Almost half of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers in Ireland have to stop working altogether for a period of time, due to their condition, according to a new patient survey. Ninety per cent of people with the chronic autoimmune disease also say that most people, including family and friends, don’t know what it’s like to live with the condition.

“People with arthritis often feel that even their friends and family do not fully understand the daily challenges that they face,” said Gráinne O’Leary from Arthritis Ireland in advance of the launch of an international patient survey on rheumatoid arthritis in Spain today.

The importance of support groups and patient advocacy organisations is highlighted with 75 per cent of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers relying on them for support.

The patient survey also highlights that only two in five Irish people had a disease management plan in place, despite findings that those with such plans were more hopeful and confident about living with rheumatoid arthritis. The full results of the survey of 10,000 adults with rheumatoid arthritis in 42 countries will be announced in Madrid today.

Claire Kinneavy, a Kildare-based Arthritis Ireland community volunteer who also has arthritis, will speak at the event.

She is convinced of the importance of having a disease management plan.

“The more you are involved with the management of your disease, the more in control you will feel about it,” she said.

“That’s why we are asking people living with rheumatoid arthritis to pledge to talk to their doctor about their experiences and their goals for the future.”

The survey of patients with rheumatoid arthritis is part of an international collaborative project, RA: Join the Fight with patients, doctors, nurses and researchers, sponsored by the biopharmaceutical company, AbbVie.