Psoriatic arthritis can make it hard to work, study finds

| Melissa Leavitt

Even if you don't call in sick, psoriatic arthritis can still cut down on what you accomplish at work.

A study analyzing psoriatic arthritis in the workplace found that more than 35 percent of patients surveyed experienced decreased work productivity. On average, patients experienced a productivity decline of approximately 4 percent, according to the study.

Previous studies have reported that people with psoriatic arthritis can have high rates of unemployment and frequent absences from work. This study, published last month in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, examined what researchers call "presenteeism," which is whether patients who show up can still do their job.

Researchers surveyed 186 patients, asking them how much they worked and whether their psoriatic arthritis made them work less than they wanted. The survey also asked patients if they felt supported at work, and if they had any control over their work schedule or environment.

Results indicate that people with lower education levels experienced less control over their workplace. The study authors noted that this may be because people with more education could have an easier time getting a flexible job with fewer physical demands.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that patients who felt more supported were also more productive.

Employers can help increase the productivity of people with psoriatic arthritis by accommodating their particular needs, the authors suggested.

For instance, psoriatic arthritis patients may need to walk around during the day to reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, explained Dafna Gladman, a co-author of the study.

"If their job requires them to be sitting for long periods of time, there has to be some accommodation so they can get up every 45 to 60 minutes," Gladman said. Other accommodations could include working from home or using ergonomic office furniture, she added.

Learn how to make your workplace more arthritis-friendly and how to talk with your employer about making accommodations.

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For more than 50 years, we’ve been driving efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected. But there’s still plenty to do! Learn how you can help our advocacy team shape the laws and policies that affect people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis – in your state and across the country. Help us raise funds to support research by joining Team NPF, where you can walk, run, cycle, play bingo or create your own fundraising event. If you or someone you love needs free, personalized support for living a healthier life with psoriatic disease, contact our Patient Navigation Center. And keep the National Psoriasis Foundation going strong by making a donation today. Together, we will find a cure.

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