LONDON, October 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
RA patients agree better management of joint morning stiffness caused by rheumatoid arthritis would help get them back to work
On World Arthritis Day, new research from Mundipharma International Limited reveals that across Europe, 28% of those with RA who are employed and suffered from morning stiffness for at least one hour per day (n=582) have reduced the number of hours they work and 29% have been unable to work as a direct result of morning joint stiffness caused by RA.
In addition, almost half (47%, n=534) of those with RA who are in employment and who suffer from morning stiffness for at least an hour each morning believe their performance at work is adversely affected by their morning stiffness. Patients whose work is affected by their symptoms state this happens, on average, for a cumulative 8.7 hours each week. During these hours patients believe they are only performing at 59% of their usual level.
These findings form part of research commissioned by Mundipharma International to understand the impact of RA and its associated symptoms on working life. The views of 1,061 RA patients of working age across Europe were analysed. Those surveyed had been diagnosed with RA for six months or more and all suffered from morning stiffness of the joints at least three times a week.
Two of the most distressing symptoms people with RA experience are joint stiffness and pain which can become more pronounced in the mornings. The complexity of these morning symptoms - which can also include physical dysfunction - can result in difficulties carrying out tasks early in the day[2,3]. The survey found that four in ten people with RA (44% N=1061) agreed that a reduction in joint stiffness for just 30 minutes each morning would significantly improve their quality of life which could potentially help them overcome morning obstacles that impact on working life.
Risto Tuominen, health economist and Professor of Healthcare, University of Turku, Finland, commented on the research: "In my experience, people who are unable to work as a result of their RA-related morning stiffness want to get back into the workplace. It is therefore our duty, as healthcare professionals, to support these patients to ensure their morning joint function problems are better managed so that they are in a position to return to work and function at a productive level."
Lateness is also an issue for those with morning stiffness of the joints. A third (33%, n=534) of those with RA surveyed say their joint morning stiffness causes them to arrive late at work, with each person accumulating an estimated 104 hours or 13 days of working time lateness annually. In terms of sick leave, over one in 10 (15%, n=534) of those with RA who are employed, took sick leave in the last month as a direct result of RA-related morning joint stiffness; this sick leave equated to an average 54 days of working time lost each year per respondent.
The research further revealed that not only is productivity, time at work and absenteeism affected but that morning stiffness also has an emotional toll on those working with RA. Of those surveyed who are working, and whose work is adversely affected by morning stiffness (n=250) , 33% experienced a lack of patience, lack of concentration (28%) and feelings of pressure (20%) as a result of RA-related morning joint stiffness. One in 10 (11%) also cites difficulties with working relationships.
Frank Buttgereit, Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany, explained: "Joint stiffness due to RA in the morning is caused by increased inflammation, the result of a build up of pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body overnight. This RA-related morning stiffness impacts significantly on the lives of those living with the disease. Those suffering from morning stiffness can take up to three hours to get ready in the morning which in turn has an inevitable effect on the start of the working day in terms of punctuality, productivity and emotional wellbeing."
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive, inflammatory disease which causes damage to the cartilage and bone in the affected joints. Mornings in particular are worse for people affected by RA. The stiffness and pain experienced can result in difficulties with mobility and carrying out every day morning tasks, significantly impacting the working lives of people affected by RA. It is estimated that about three million people in Europe have rheumatoid arthritis, many of whom are of working age.
Notes to Editors:
About the research
Interviews were conducted by telephone between April and July 2011. The survey was carried out across 1,061 patients of working age from Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, UK, Poland and Spain. 'Working age' was defined as those aged 18+. The upper age limit was determined by the retirement age in each country. All patients surveyed had been diagnosed with RA for at least six months and all suffered from stiffness in the joints first thing in the morning at least three days a week.
About the calculations
The following statement: "this sick leave equated to an average 54 days of working time lost each year per respondent" was determined by the following calculation:
Sick leave: Average number of sick days per month because of morning stiffness = 4.5 days. 4.5 days x 12 (number of months in a year) = 54 (number of sick days off per year).
The following statement: "In addition, a third (33%, n=534) of those with RA surveyed say their joint morning stiffness causes them to arrive late at work, with each person accumulating an estimated 104 hours or 13 days of working time lateness annually" was determined by the following calculation:
Lateness: Average number of hours late per 5 day working week because of morning stiffness = 2.3 hours. 2.3 hours / 5 days = 0.46 hours (number of hours late per day). 0.46 hours x 226 (number of working days in the year) = 103.96 hours (number of hours late a year). 103.96 / 7.9 (average European working hours per day) = 13.2 days (number of working days late per year)
About Mundipharma International Limited
The Mundipharma/Napp/Norpharma independent associated companies are privately owned companies and joint ventures covering the world's pharmaceutical markets. The companies worldwide are dedicated to bringing to patients with severe and debilitating diseases the benefits of novel treatment options in fields such as severe pain, haemato-oncology and respiratory disease. For more information: http://www.mundipharma.co.uk/
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SOURCE Mundipharma International Limited