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Survey: Rheumatic Diseases Pose Routine Challenges

Patient survey shows challenges with affordability, activity limitations, mental health

arthritic hands

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Many patients with rheumatic diseases face significant challenges in their daily lives, including affordability issues, lifestyle and activity limitations, and negative effects on mental and emotional health, according to the results of a survey released by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

ACR conducted an online survey of U.S. adults living with rheumatic diseases from June 5 to 8, 2020, to assess quality-of-life issues associated with these diseases.

The authors found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents reported their disease sometimes feels invisible because they do not "look sick" to most people. Half of respondents (52 percent) believe rheumatic disease negatively affected their mental health, and 43 percent have felt isolated because of their disease. The vast majority (83 percent) reported at least one activity limitation (e.g., ability to exercise, work, or engage in physical activities) as a result of their disease. Out-of-pocket treatment costs more than doubled from 2019 (from $475 to $1,000).

"The survey findings show that Americans living with a rheumatic disease face significant challenges in their daily lives, including treatment access and affordability issues, lifestyles and activity limitations, and negative effects on mental and emotional health," the authors write.

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