Background Rheumatic diseases have a tremendous impact on workability and on employability. Pain, joint limitation: oedema and disability are very common in patients with rheumatic diseases with clear implications in the way patients perform their jobs. Additional impact of these diseases is linked to early retirement, absenteeism and unemployment.
Objectives To determine the impact of rheumatic diseases in terms of early retirement, sick leave and unemployment due to Rheumatic diseases. To compare RD with other chronic diseases.
Methods Study included a representative sample of Portuguese population of 10661 subjects, using a random-rout selection method. Interviews were applied in peoples' home to the adult with birth date closer to interview's date. Data concerning demographic, clinical and work situation were collected; quality of life and general health status questionnaires were applied. Data were analyzed considering descriptive statistics and comparison between groups using Chi-square test and Mann-Whitney test (p value <0.005).
Results 10,661 subjects, 61.5% female, mean age 53±18 years old. Considering as having an auto-reported rheumatic disease (RD) those who affirmed having Rheumatoid arthritis and/or Ankylosing spondylitis/Spondiloarthropaty/Spondyloarthritis and/or Psoriatic arthritis and/or Osteoarthrosis and/or Osteoporosis and/or Gout and/or Rheumatic polymyalgia and/or Lupus and/or Fibromyalgia and/or Periarticular rheumatism/Tendinitis/Bursitis,
Considering the group of patients reporting a RD 19.3% of retired subjects who reported a RD affirmed they were retired due to their disease (n=234/1213), 14.3% were unemployed due to RD (n=16/112 RD patients unemployed) and 73.8% had temporary work incapacity (n=31/42 RD patients who were with temporary work incapacity).The percentage of people with a RD retired due to was similar to those with a cardiac disease and, slightly higher than those with an oncological disease. 36.4% of RD patients affirmed that they couldn't work at least a day in the last 12 months due to a RD. RD had more impact in patients' ability to work than other chronic diseases, like cardiac, digestive and neurological diseases, as data show that subjects who referred a RD presented a higher percentage of absenteeism due to their disease than the subjects with other diseases. Subjects with reported fibromyalgia presented a higher number of days with temporary work incapacity due to RD, in the past 12 months, when compared with those who did not referred that disease (107.24±128.45 days vs. 40.43±125.32 days; p<0.001). There were no statistical differences concerning the remaining rheumatic diseases.
Conclusions This nationwide study would determine a significant relationship between the presence of self-reported RD and retirement, unemployment and sick leave with more than 70% of patients showed work incapacity due to the RD. RD seems to have a higher impact on work status than other chronic diseases. No difference was found between different rheumatic diseases regarding the works status, except for fibromyalgia, that has a higher number of absenteeism from work in the previous year.
Disclosure of Interest None declared