A few changes in work environments may reduce the risk of work disability for patientswith rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A survey of 600 adults with RA found that certain work factors(ie, whether workers received ergonomic adjustments to their workstations and a difficultcommute to work) were associated with the risk of work disability, according to preliminaryresearch reported recently in Arthritis & Rheumatism.
The research showed that individuals whose personal work space was modified to makethem more comfortable were 60% less apt to currently be away from work, compared withthose who reported no workstation modifications. Adjustments included a change in positionof a computer keyboard or a footstool added to an individual's desk area. Additionally, individualswho had trouble getting to work, including physical difficulty in doing so, were at ahigher risk of work disability. The researchers defined work disability as at least 6 monthsaway from work as a result of RA symptoms.
Self-employment was the strongest factor. The researchers found that the participantswho were self-employed were 5 times less likely to report work disability, compared with surveyrespondents who were not self-employed.