LONDON, December 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey of women in the United Kingdom (U.K.) reveals that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has a severe emotional and physical impact on people living with the disease and their families. Feelings of detachment and isolation from those closest to them due to RA are especially prevalent at Christmas, which should be one of the happiest times of the year. The survey findings of 300 women with RA living in the U.K. suggest that 33% feel the disease impacts on their enjoyment of family events like Christmas, which increases to 39% for women with moderate RA.
The survey, sponsored by biopharmaceutical company UCB, highlights that more than a quarter (26%) of women with RA find it always more painful to attend parties and celebrations or have stopped attending altogether; this increases to 67% for women with severe RA. Additionally, RA is impacting on personal relations, with more than a quarter of women believing the condition affects their closest relationships for the worse, and 61% feeling that friends and family do not understand their pain.
Three quarters of UK women living with RA experience pain every day, which can be more intense during busy times of the year, such as Christmas, and this can seriously impact a patient's enjoyment of the festive season. More than half of patients included in the survey are not talking to their physician about pain control options, which is imperative to enable them to take control of their pain, especially around Christmas when pain can be a considerable issue. This will ensure that more patients achieve a pain free 'good day' and ultimately improve their quality of life. Said Professor Paul Emery, Professor of Rheumatology, University of Leeds.
Pain is a huge issue for women living with RA in the U.K., as 76% of respondents report experiencing pain daily. This can be exacerbated by the dexterity needed for even the simplest of Christmas tasks which is illuminated by the survey with 65% of severe RA respondents finding it difficult to write Christmas cards.
Shopping for gifts, preparing food, writing cards and going to parties are four festive activities that women living with RA in the U.K find most difficult to do. Among women with severe RA, more than three quarters (78%) experience difficulty when shopping for gifts, and 71% report it painful to prepare Christmas food, with more than a quarter (27%) of these women having stopped Christmas cooking altogether.
So many women with RA in the UK have to live with the pain associated with this debilitating disease, and the survey highlights that this is particularly difficult to deal with during the Christmas period, said Ailsa Bosworth, CEO of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. The pain associated with RA is undertreated in the UK in our experience; we need to do a better job of getting people's disease under control more rapidly to enable people to enjoy more 'good days', particularly at this time of year.
In light of the 'Good Days' survey findings, UCB and the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society have collaborated to develop the '12 Tips of Christmas' with information to help people with RA manage and enjoy the hectic holiday season. Please visit http://www.nras.org.uk/12Tips or email 12Tips@fleishman.com for the full guide that details ways to embrace and enjoy the countdown to Christmas.
The U.K. survey findings are part of a global 'Good Days' survey which evaluated the impact of RA on 1,958 women with RA from seven countries worldwide. The survey findings suggest that women in the U.K. experience greater difficulty and pain due to their condition than women living with RA in the rest of the world. Whereas 76% of women in the U.K. experience pain caused by their disease on a daily basis, on average only 63% of women worldwide report daily pain from their RA. The global survey shows that the feelings of isolation due to RA are universal and all women with RA report that they conceal pain from family and friends, and worry about losing their independence.
About the 'Good Days' Survey
The 'Good Days' Survey was conducted in August 2009 as part of a global initiative assessing the lifestyles of women with rheumatoid arthritis in seven major industrialized countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Objectives of the Survey included identification of the physical and emotional impact of RA on day-to-day lives of women living with the disease. A component of the Survey examined the affects of the disease on people living with RA during the festive season.
Nearly 2,000 women aged between 25-65 years living with RA for six months or more were interviewed online about the impact of the disease on their lives. Of those interviewed in the 'Good Days' survey, 300 women with RA were from the U.K.
About Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is estimated that 5 million people suffer from RA globally, with 0.8 percent of the U.K. adult population being affected. Prevalence is not split evenly between genders, since women are three times more likely to be affected than men3. Although RA can affect people of all ages, the onset of the disease usually occurs between 30-50 years of age.
RA symptoms often lead to restricted mobility and permanent damage and disfigurement of the joints and bones. People living with RA are at a higher risk of developing other conditions, including heart disease, stroke, depression, infections, lung problems and osteoporosis.
UCB, Brussels, Belgium (http://www.ucb.com) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing approximately 10,000 people in over 40 countries, UCB generated revenue of EUR 3.6 billion in 2008. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels .
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