Health-Related Quality of Life Lower in Arthritis Sufferers

Low income, inability to work, diabetes associated with worse HRQOL

FRIDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Adults with arthritis report lower health-related quality of life (HRQOL) than those without the condition, according to research published online April 29 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Sylvia E. Furner, M.P.H., Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues reviewed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on adults with arthritis to describe the HRQOL of adults in the United States with and without arthritis and to investigate correlates of poor HRQOL in those with the condition.

The researchers found poor/fair health to be described by 27 percent of those over the age of 18 with arthritis, compared with 12 percent who did not have arthritis. The mean number of mentally unhealthy, physically unhealthy, and activity-limited days was higher in those with arthritis than those without. Low income, inability to work, cost-related barriers to care, and diabetes were strongly associated with worse HRQOL, while physical activity was associated with better HRQOL. Binge drinking was linked to poor HRQOL for some measures but was related to better self-reported health.

"U.S. adults with arthritis had worse HRQOL than those without. Physical health and mental health were both affected by arthritis; thus, efforts to alleviate the arthritis burden should address both domains. Given the current and projected high prevalence of arthritis, we face a significant burden of poor HRQOL. Increasing physical activity, reducing comorbidities, and increasing access to health care could improve HRQOL of persons with arthritis," the authors write.

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