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 In Rheumatology

Eli Lilly and Company has announced the results of the RA Matters survey. The results showed that regardless of characteristic or country, the understanding of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), its symptoms, and how RA makes people feel, has a large impact on people’s lives.

The RA Matters survey uncovered that despite major advances in the treatment of RA, physical symptoms such as fatigue (43 per cent) and pain (39 per cent), continue to be the biggest barriers for people with RA in the workplace.

Difficulty using their hands was the biggest challenge to people carrying out work. Daily activities are also impacted by the disease, with more than 60 per cent of people with RA finding it significantly hinders their ability to exercise, and 23 per cent of people with RA reporting that they have problems with daily routines, such as washing and personal care.

Despite much progress in addressing the physical burden of RA, many people feel that RA hinders their ambitions for the future. Over 50 per cent of the respondents with RA hope for a better understanding from others of the physical impact that RA has on their lives.

The RA Matters survey shone a light on people living with RA and shows how our understanding of RA and how it makes people feel remains a major barrier to improving the lives of those living with this disease,’ commented Roberto Servi, Senior Director & International Therapeutic Area Leader – Europe at Eli Lilly and Company.

The hope is that RA Matters will add crucial patient perspectives and mark a step change in engaging people with RA about what matters most to them in their daily lives. We hope these survey findings will contribute to ensuring the standard of care for this community is improved further.’

RA can often be unpredictable. Some people experience long periods of disease inactivity then flare unexpectedly, whilst others have highly active disease with symptoms on a daily basis lasting for months at a time. These fluctuations can often lead to feelings of distress, lack of control, isolation and may limit people’s hopes for the future,’ said Clare Jacklin, Director of External Affairs, NRAS, UK.

The RA Matters survey has provided a platform for people living with RA to voice what really matters to them. Life with RA should not be a compromise. It should be about taking control of this debilitating disease and not having your life defined by it.’

People living with RA also bear an emotional burden that can make them compromise on some of the most fundamental aspects of life. The RA Matters survey revealed that the level of understanding and empathy from those around them can also have an effect on people’s behaviours and emotions, with 44 per cent of people with RA reporting a negative impact on their relationship with their spouse or partner.

A lack of understanding from colleagues about the physical and emotional burden of RA was reported as a major professional barrier, with 43 per cent of people with RA reporting that they felt their jobs were not flexible enough for their circumstances.

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