Developing arthritis increases the risk of falling into poverty, especially for women, new research shows.
In a study of more than 4,000 Australian adults, females who developed arthritis were 51% more likely to fall into income poverty than nonarthritic women. In men, arthritis was linked with a 22% increased risk.
Also, women with arthritis were 87% more likely to fall into "multidimensional poverty," which includes income, health, and education attainment, while the arthritis-related risk in men was 29%. The investigators noted that given the high prevalence of arthritis, the condition is an overlooked driver of poverty.
"With population ageing occurring in most of the developed nations around the world, health conditions such as arthritis will become increasingly common. That developing arthritis has such a pronounced impact on the risk of falling into poverty should flag to policy makers in welfare departments the influence of the condition on national living standards," said Dr. Emily Callander, lead author of the Arthritis & Rheumatology study. "Furthermore, the high risk of poverty should be kept in mind by clinicians seeking the most appropriate treatment for their patients with arthritis, as affordability of out-of-pocket costs may be an important factor."