Shangping Zhao is studying for her nursing master degree, at the age of 25 years from Sichuan University.


Purpose: To investigate the incidence and influencing factors of functional disability in Chinese patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
Method: Six hundred and seven patients with RA were enrolled in the cross-sectional survey. Demographic data, social support, pain, fatigue and functional disability were obtained and analyzed.
Results: The average score of functional disability was 0.67, and 58.5% of patients had functional disability. Mild, moderate and severe of functional disability was 42.7%, 7.1% and 8.7%, respectively. Patients from rural residents, with lower income level and education had significant relationship with worse functional disability. Age, disease duration, hospitalized times, total cost for treatment, social support, pain and fatigue were strongly correlated with functional disability. Multivariate regression showed that pain, age, disease duration, total cost for treatment and hospitalized times was negative influencing factors; subjective and available social support was the protective predictors.
Conclusion: Functional disability is a common symptom though mild degree in our study. Healthcare policy and health professionals should pay more attention on patients with RA who live in rural residence, have a low level of income and education and long disease duration. Intervention and care such as treatment and health education should be provided as early as possible to keep the stability of RA. Pain management with a sound social support system may be effective intervention to postpone the progress of functional disability. Further researches should be done to evaluate the effect of these interventions on functional disability of RA.

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