Life is Rough with Arthritis

People with arthritis have a lower health-related quality of life

(RxWiki News) Living everyday with arthritis pain can take its toll on the body and mind. As if having the disease wasn't bad enough, people with arthritis may be less healthy than their friends and family, but need to excercise more often.

In a recent study, people with arthritis reported having worse mental and physical health than people without the disease. In other words, arthritis patients have a poorer health-related quality of life.

"Arthritis patients need to take action to live healthier."

According to Sylvia Furner, M.P.H., Ph.D., from the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers need to figure out ways to improve both the physical and mental health of arthritis patients.

Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Dr. Furner and colleagues compared the health-related quality of life of people with arthritis and those without the condition.

Dr. Furner adds that getting patients to exercise more, reducing the impact of other health conditions, and increasing access to health care providers could improve the quality of life for arthritis patients.

This study's finding is concerning as the US population grows older and more people are being diagnosed with arthritis.

The growing number of arthritis patients could end up being a strain on both hospitals and pocketbooks.

The Study

  • The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System is a survey that asks people questions about health-related quality of life, demographics, and behavioral risks. Every other year, the survey asks questions about arthritis.
  • For this study, the researchers looked at data from over one million people who responded to the survey in 2003, 2005, and 2007. They found that 27 percent of survey respondents with arthritis reported fair or poor health, compared to only 12 percent of those without arthritis
  • People with arthritis reported having about seven physically unhealthy days per month, compared to three days for those without arthritis
  • People with arthritis reported having about five mentally unhealthy days per month, compared to three days for those without arthritis
  • People with arthritis reported having about four days per month in which their activity was limited, compared to one day for those without arthritis
  • People with arthritis who stayed physically active were less likely to report fair or poor health
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Review Date: 
April 28, 2011