Background The primary goal of treating patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is to maximise long-term HRQol.1Quality of life (Qol) in patients with RA may be substantially impacted by their inability to perform daily activities, a shift in family roles, more restricted employment opportunities, increased financial burden and social dependency and reduced recreational activities.2
Objectives To investigate the Qol among RA patients and its association with demographic and socioeconomic details.
Methods This is a cross-sectional study conducted in a rheumatology out-patient clinic in Malaysia. Patients who fulfilled 2010 ACR/ EULAR classification criteria for RA were asked to answer WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire and specific questions on demographics and socio-economic details, during their attendance to rheumatology clinics. WHOQOL-BREF is a self-report quality of life questionnaire on individual's perception of quality of life and health, physical health, psychological, social relationships and environment domains.
Data was analysed using SPSS 20. Student's t-test was used to analyse the mean difference between two groups and chi-square test was used to analyse between 2 categorical data. Pearson correlation was used to analyse correlation between two groups of continuous data. p<0.05 was considered significant.
Results The mean age of patients in this study was 53.10 (±14.3) years, with majority being females (80.4%) and married (70.6%). Half of the patients were Malays (49.0%). 51.0% rated overall quality of life as good and 41.2% rated overall health as satisfied. The mean transformed scores were 55.2 (±15.9) in physical health, 57.3 (±15.9) in psychological, 59.2 (±18.1) in social relationships and 58.2 (±15.2) in environment domains.
There were significant differences in the transformed scores for Malay (65.5±15.9) and non-Malay (53.1±18.2) in the social relationship domain; t (49) =2.58, p=0.01, and for education at secondary level and above (65.9±14.9) and primary level (48.0±16.6), t(49)=-3.87, p<0.01. We found no significant association between race and education level; 17 (53.1%) Malays and 15 (46.9%) non-Malays had education level of secondary and higher, X2(1, N=51) =0.58, p=0.48. Patients with household income of less than RM 3, 000 had significantly lower scores compared to those with higher household income, in overall perception of quality of life (3.3±0.9 vs 4.0±0.6; t(49)=-2.8, p<0.01), overall perception of health (2.9±0.9 vs 3.6±0.7, t(49)=-2.97, p<0.01), physical health domain (51.2±16.2 vs 63.8±11.6, t(49)=-2.78, p=0.01) and psychological domain (53.3±16.3 vs 66.1±10.9, t(49)=-2.85, p=0.01).
Conclusions Patients with RA perceived their Qol to be moderate in all domains. Social relationship was perceived to be better in Malays and patients with higher educational level. Low income was significantly associated lower overall quality of life and health, physical and psychological health.
Smolen JS, Breedveld FC, Burmester GR et al. Treating rheumatoid arthritis to target: 2014 update of the recommendations of an international task force. Ann Rheum 2015; 0, 1–13.
Matcham F, Scott IC, Rayner L et al (2014). The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on quality-of-life assessed using the SF-36: A systemic review and meta-analysis. Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism 2014; 44: 123–130.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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