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Majority of Ontarians suffering from rheumatoid arthritis not receiving needed speciality care
Date:7/6/2010

R Study. "Low income women are less likely to have seen a specialist than those with higher incomes and a person's likelihood of seeing a specialist depends on where they live in the province. Access to these services is important and there is much that can be done to improve this access through innovations in how we organize and deliver care for chronic disease."

Studies show that primary care physicians may fail to refer patients to specialists because they lack confidence in performing the joint exams necessary to identify and diagnose inflammatory arthritis. And with a limited number of arthritis specialists only 350 in Canada including some who are strictly academics and don't see patients, access to speciality care may be limited.

For 45-year-old Lynn Robinson, the lack of early diagnosis and treatment kept her off work and in severe pain for months.

"Each day, the pain became progressively worse until I couldn't dress myself, brush my teeth or even hold a pen," said Robinson, who first began experiencing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in 2008. "I was off work and in excruciating pain. My doctor dismissed the idea that the symptoms could be arthritis until I finally pushed to see a specialist who confirmed my suspicion. Now I'm on treatment and have been able to resume my daily activities, pain free."

The POWER study released today examined the impact of musculoskeletal conditions diseases that affect the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and joints on health status and disability and quality of care for Ontarians with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Key findings include:

  • About 40 per cent of women and 35 per cent of men living with a musculoskeletal disease, including arthritis, also suffer from at least one other common chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease.

  • Women who have musculoskeletal disease have higher rates of disability than men with these conditions. Ne
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Contact: Julie Saccone
sacconej@smh.ca
416-864-5047
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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