Men and women with rheumatoid arthritis may need different types of support

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man rheumatoid arthritis, male rheumatoid arthritis, arthritis digest, arthritis supportWomen and men who have rheumatoid arthritis may respond better to different types of support to help them manage the everyday impact the condition has on their lives, says a new study from Arthritis Research UK.

The survey of 295 men and 232 women with rheumatoid arthritis found that 22% of the men who responded to the questionnaire appeared to have accepted and adapted to their condition, but 43% were struggling to cope.

Men who reported struggling tended to report more severe symptoms, less effective strategies for managing their condition and poorer mental health and wellbeing.

Men generally preferred support measures such as question-and-answer sessions with a consultant or specialist nurse, access to online information, talks by researchers, or symptom management sessions.

Women were more interested in support sessions than men, and over half of the women surveyed said they were interested in nearly every option provided.

It is hoped that the study could shape more personalised treatment and support, tailored to the needs of each person.

“Rheumatoid arthritis currently affects more than 400,000 men and women of all ages in the UK, and can have a devastating impact on a person’s everyday life,” says Dr Devi Sagar, research liaison manager at Arthritis Research UK. “Daily activities that we often take for granted – like getting out of bed, climbing the stairs or even preparing a meal – can be incredibly difficult.

“Studies like this show us how arthritis can affect people differently, and that it is important to understand trends among different groups so that patients are offered a personalised programme of support – where they feel better equipped to cope with the physical and mental challenges of living with arthritis.”

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