Background Formal educational background has been associated with a worse health outcome and greater disease activity among patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of educational level on the outcomes of RA, in terms of disease activity and functional impairment.
Methods This is a cross-sectional study, including patients with RA (1987 ACR criteria). Disease activity was evaluated by erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and Disease Activity Score (DAS28) ESR. Functional disability was assessed by Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). Patients were classified according to their educational level into 4 categories: illiterate, primary, secondary or university levels. Statistical analysis was done using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and linear regression models. The significance level was set at p<0.05.
Results A total of 67 patients with RA were evaluated, 5 men and 62 women. The mean age was 53 years [28–75] and the mean disease duration was 9.19 years [1–30]. Eighty eight percent of patients were treated with synthetic DMARDs (Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs) and 20% were treated with biologic DMARDs.
With regard to the educational level, 34.3% were illiterate, 20.89% had primary level, 34.3% secondary level and 10.44% had university level
There were no statistically significant differences for ESR, CRP, DAS28 and HAQ when comparing the four educational levels (p=0.176, p=0.252, p=0.528, p=0.410, respectively). However, in the multivariate analysis, after adjusting for age and biologic DMARDs, DAS28 and HAQ were significantly associated to the educational level (p=0.024, p=0.014, respectively).
Conclusions This study shows that educational levels may have an influence on the disease activity and functional impairment in patients with RA.
Disclosure of Interest None declared