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Arthritis Patients Needing to Shelter in Place Require More Support

Survey finds many experiencing increased symptoms, less physical activity, emotional issues

MONDAY, July 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The Norfolk Arthritis Register has released an interim report on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on people living with inflammatory arthritis who were advised to shelter at home due to increased vulnerability to COVID-19 because of medications.

Pippa Belderson, Ph.D., from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and colleagues surveyed 264 people from the Norfolk Arthritis Register regarding their health and experience with COVID-19. Additionally, 26 people took part in follow-up semistructured telephone interviews.

The researchers found that 39 percent of patients reported worsening symptoms, and 42 percent experienced lower energy levels. Fifty-nine percent reported lower physical activity levels during stay-at-home orders. While 20 percent of respondents accessed health care either in person or over the phone, missing routine appointments led to reported anxiety and delays in seeking advice. The majority of respondents reported emotional fluctuations and commonly described low mood, isolation, boredom, and feeling “fed up with life.”

“Health professionals should remain vigilant that lack of contact or failure to report symptoms might not mean that all is well,” the authors write. “Health concerns may not be reported due to postponed appointments and because many do not want to trouble health services at this time.”

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