Rome, Italy, Friday 18 June 2010: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) patients from Brazil and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients from France report that their rheumatic conditions negatively affect their emotional relationships and sex lives, according to research presented today at EULAR 2010, the Annual Congress of the European League Against Rheumatism in Rome, Italy. Furthermore, findings of the French study specifically revealed a strong correlation between RA disease severity and impact on sex life.
Results of a French study of 1,271 patients (average age 64, 98% receiving treatment) showed that 66% of patients reported that their RA symptoms had negatively impacted their sexual relationships, and 40% reported RA was the sole reason for not being sexually active. For sexually active patients, the main physical problems reported in the RA study were a decrease or absence of libido, reported by 47%, and pain or stiffness in the joints reported by 24%. A mean Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ*) score of 1.23 was reported by participants, indicating that RA had a moderate to severe level of impact on their physical functioning.
The study findings also showed that in addition to physical problems, significant emotional consequences were experienced with 39% of RA patients reporting feelings of guilt and frustration. Despite the high physical and emotional impact of RA on their sexual activity, 72% of participants said that they had never talked about the affect of the condition on their sex lives with their physician, with 66% unwilling to address the issue and 62% not considering they needed any help.
"Our study has shown that there is a link between rheumatic disease activity and the negative impact this has on the sex lives of many of our patients," said Professor Gisela Kobelt, Health Economist, Visiting Professor at Lund University, Sweden and President of Rheumatology, Association Nationale de Dfense contre l'Arthrite Rhu
|Contact: Caroline Butt|
European League Against Rheumatism