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Arthritis takes toll on workplace productivity: study

Monday, December 3, 2018

New research from Arthritis Research Canada (ARC) shows that systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases (SARDS) place a significant economic strain on the paid and unpaid workforce in the form of excess productivity costs.

The study specifically focused on three types of SARDS: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis/scleroderma (SSc) and Sjogren’s syndrome (SjS) and found that those with SLE, SSc, and SjS were predicted to incur an additional $4,494, $3,582, and $4,357, respectively, in lost productivity costs each year, over-and-above a similar person without a SARD.

“Approximately two-to-five per-1,000 Canadians have a SARD, which can lead to systemic inflammation, organ damage, and an array of physical and neurocognitive manifestations that can reduce their ability to function, overall health, and ability to perform at work,” said Natalie McCormick, a research trainee at ARC.

According to the recently published study, many working-age participants were not in the paid workforce at all due to issues with their health and of those who were, most productivity costs were the result of working while sick and not from missing work due to illness.

“This means they did not miss any more work than people without one of these diagnoses, but they worked less efficiently,” McCormick said.

McCormick conducted this research as part of her PhD thesis and makes several unique contributions in highlighting the societal burden of SARDs, relative to the general population.

ARC is the largest clinical arthritis research centre in North America.

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