Pain. Sleeplessness. Anxiety. Depression. Not getting your medical needs met.
Those are among the top things people with arthritis say they struggle with most. And the magnitude of those issues comes through loud and clear in “A Mandate for Action” — a new report spearheaded by the Arthritis Foundation that captures input from 18,000 responses to the ongoing Live Yes! INSIGHTS assessment.
This continuous scientific study, which is patient-centered and patient-driven, is one of the nation’s largest studies of its kind. The results amplify the patient voice to influence — and change — the future of arthritis.
For the first time, patient input brings real-life data to the forefront, validating the individual experiences arthritis patients have shared anecdotally for years. Your stories have always reflected the issues you face; but the data being captured now underscores the real extent of those challenges in a way never done before.
As this report shows, arthritis is a serious public health crisis, affecting at least 54 million Americans. And the toll of living with this complex disease, in its many forms, is astronomical.
Ever-present arthritis pain leads to other problems. There’s constant fatigue and sleep disruption. 92% said pain interfered with their day-to-day activities. Two-thirds said it’s difficult to take part in family activities — and felt depressed and/or fearful and anxious.
In addition, arthritis patients have difficulty doing their job.
Getting the health care you need as an arthritis patient is another major obstacle. Less than half of respondents to INSIGHTS were satisfied with their health care experience or felt they got the help they needed, especially among those with lower incomes.
Clearly, despite advances in medicine, arthritis patients suffer from intense pain, are unable to engage in daily activities and don’t get what they need from our health care system. These ongoing findings are being shared with health care professionals, policymakers, corporations and other decision-makers — with our urgent mandate for action.
The findings aren’t surprising, but they are eye opening. As the CEO of a major medical device company that develops and markets treatments for arthritis has observed: “I thought I understood the impact that arthritis has on the lives of so many people. I did not. The impact of the data here cannot be underestimated,” shared Tony Bihl, CEO of Bioventus.
Besides validating the Arthritis Foundation’s work over the past seven decades, the data further supports our current initiatives and will guide us in the future — driving our national agenda while shaping improvements in the services provided in local communities.
“These are data a lot of us have experienced firsthand, but now we know we’re not alone. We know how many fellow Americans are facing these same challenges,” says Iseman.
Patients in all 50 states have weighed in, and no community is immune from the effects of arthritis, though the challenges vary widely from one community to another. Lower-income patients and minorities suffer most. As data collection continues, these rapidly growing facts and figures will gauge changes in communities nationwide, so we can drill down more deeply on the support needed locally — and find solutions.
“The pain, hardship, isolation and marginalization of people with arthritis can no longer be ignored,” says Ann M. Palmer, Arthritis Foundation president and CEO. “This report allows us to share with local and national leaders the true impact of living with arthritis. Arthritis patients are living a life of less, instead of living the life they deserve.”
Your voice counts. What you add is imperative to changing the future of arthritis. Participate now — it takes only 10 minutes. Continue to report what you’re going through, to help measure gaps and the progress being made. In the words of Matt Iseman, “It’s a time for us to take action, to make a difference.”