Stress, quality of life and disability for Canadians with arthritis are addressed in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s second national surveillance report on arthritis. The recently released report provides an overview of the disease and discussion of its impact in Canada.
The chapter on disability and quality of life provides information about how arthritis affects individual Canadians. Mood or anxiety disorders were among the top six chronic conditions reported by people with arthritis, and are 1.8 and 1.5 times more common among men and women with arthritis, respectively, than in the Canadian population as a whole. The report also states that almost one-quarter of Canadians with arthritis report life to be very stressful compared to one-fifth of those without chronic conditions. Only a small proportion of individuals with arthritis (5.7 percent for men and six percent for women) report being dissatisfied with life. As well, mental health was rated as fair or poor by 9.6 percent of men and 8.2 percent of women with arthritis.
Arthritis was also found to interfere with daily activities and participation in the work force and community life. Those aged 15-44 years had the highest self-reported activity limitations due to pain than any other age group. Such participation and activity restrictions affect self-perception of health and overall health status. The authors note that those with visible symptoms of arthritis may face further stigma and that these findings underline the importance of adapted activity and job modifications to accommodate those affected by arthritis.
See “Life with Arthritis in Canada: A Personal and Public Health Challenge,” Public Health Agency of Canada, 2010, available at www.phac-aspc.gc.ca.