How does arthritis affect quality of life?

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Arthritis is a term that refers to a group of diseases that cause inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis can affect people of any age, gender, or ethnicity, and it can have a significant impact on their quality of life. Quality of life is a broad concept that includes physical, mental, social, and emotional aspects of well-being. People with arthritis may experience challenges in their quality of life due to various factors, such as:

  1. - Chronic pain: Arthritis can cause persistent and sometimes severe pain in the affected joints, which can limit mobility, interfere with daily activities, and reduce enjoyment of life. According to a survey by SingleCare, 88% of people with arthritis said that their condition affects their quality of life, and 72% said that pain is the most challenging symptom to manage.
  2. - Functional impairment: Arthritis can also affect the ability to perform tasks that require joint movement, such as walking, climbing stairs, dressing, cooking, gardening, or working. This can lead to reduced independence, productivity, and participation in social and recreational activities. According to a study by Fontaine et al., people with arthritis reported lower levels of physical functioning than the general population.
  3. - Psychological distress: Arthritis can also have negative effects on mental health, such as depression, anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, and poor coping skills. These can be caused by factors such as chronic pain, disability, isolation, stigma, or uncertainty about the future. According to a study by Healthline, people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a type of inflammatory arthritis, had lower scores on psychological well-being than the general population.
  4. - Subjective perception: Arthritis can also affect how people perceive and evaluate their own quality of life. This can depend on various factors, such as personal values, expectations, goals, beliefs, and preferences. Some people may have a positive outlook and adapt well to their condition, while others may have a negative outlook and struggle to cope. According to a study by Halls et al., people with RA had different ways of understanding and measuring their quality of life.

Therefore, arthritis can affect quality of life in multiple ways, and it is important to assess and address these impacts holistically. The Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RAQoL) is one example of a disease-specific tool that measures the effect of RA on quality of life from the patient's perspective. Other tools may include generic measures of health-related quality of life or individualized measures that reflect the patient's own goals and priorities. By assessing quality of life, health care providers can better understand the needs and preferences of people with arthritis and provide appropriate interventions to improve their outcomes.