The Arthritis Foundation has released “A Mandate for Action,” featuring real-time patient insights from 18,000 online assessments taken from August 2018 to October 2019 and is an inaugural baseline of patient-reported outcomes from those with arthritis from all 50 states.

The report suggests that the extent of the disease is much more significant than experts initially thought, with the resulting pain leading to devastating physical and emotional realities, and underscores why the disease is considered the nation’s number one cause of disability, according to a media release from the Arthritis Foundation.

“For years we’ve known the staggering statistics of arthritis, but it hasn’t been until our first-of-its-kind report that we now know the true impact of living with this chronic disease, and the results are stunning,” said Ann M. Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, in the release. “The effects of pain are undeniable. It impairs sleep, isolates people from their families, leads to anxiety and depression.”

Limitations in the health care system and lack of scientific breakthroughs are causing patients to have to “settle” for a life filled with pain and unmet needs, according to the report, with 93% of patients commenting that it’s extremely important to get the help they need at their doctor’s appointments; yet only 57% surveyed reporting they got the help they needed. Additional highlights from the report — representing a wide variety of arthritis types, including rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and the number of years since diagnosed — include:

  • Pain can no longer be ignored. Pain alone is causing damaging effects through lack of mobility, chronic sleeplessness and constant fatigue among patients.
    • 100% of patients reported pain over the last 7 days — with an average pain score of 5 on a 10-point scale.
    • 92% of patients reported that pain interfered with their day-to- day activities.
    • 43% reported that they could not walk at all or had major difficulty walking for at least 15 minutes during the past 7 days.
    • Less than a third slept well in the past 7 days, and 73% reported feeling fatigued over that same period.
  • Arthritis is causing life-altering effects in employment and social interactions as well as takes a big emotional toll.
    • 72% reported having trouble doing all usual work, including work from home.
    • 67% reported having trouble doing all the family activities they want to do.
    • Two-thirds of patients said they felt depressed or anxious and/or fearful over the last 7 days.

“People from across the country shared their stories about how arthritis has taken a profound and oftentimes devastating toll on their lives – everything from not being able to hold their newborn baby to being forced into a vicious cycle of unemployment,” says Cindy McDaniel, senior vice president of consumer health for the Arthritis Foundation, in the release.

“The patients who participated in this study have taken the first step by joining the Arthritis Foundation to change the course of arthritis. Through the Live Yes! Arthritis Network, we’re urging patients to continue taking the assessment on an ongoing basis. Together, our collective voices allow us to impact policymakers, scientists and the health care system to shape a better future for all people with arthritis.”

To overcome this, the Arthritis Foundation is arming its constituents with the skills, savviness, and unwavering determination to get the kind of care every single person deserves — from learning how to be an advocate to serving as a local group leader for people with arthritis.

“Our report, A Mandate for Action, reveals that neither the health care system nor society devotes enough attention and resources to helping people with arthritis,” the Foundation’s Ann M. Palmer adds.

“For example, those making less than $75,000 per year aren’t receiving the full attention of the health care system early in their diagnosis. The Arthritis Foundation is leading the charge with providers and patients, to address the true effects of arthritis in the major areas of pain, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression.”

The Arthritis Foundation is holding a congressional briefing with remarks from Arthritis Caucus co-chair representatives on March 10, to discuss findings from A Mandate for Action, per the release.

For more information and to share your experiences with arthritis, visit Arthritis Foundation.

[Source(s): Arthritis Foundation, PR Newswire]