Social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to worse outcomes in females with inflammatory arthritis.
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JournalIrish journal of medical science
AbstractBackground: Prolonged social isolation as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic has been a source of considerable psychological distress for many people. This can manifest in many ways and if left undetected can impact negatively on general health. It is essential to understand the impact of these conditions on inflammatory arthritis (IA) patients, especially axial spondyloarthropathy (axSpA). Aim: To capture the level of psychological distress for patients with IA following prolonged social isolation. Methods: A survey was sent out to patients with a confirmed diagnosis of IA. This captured changes in sleep, mood, disease activity, employment and general health since the beginning of the social isolation period. A PHQ-4 (Patient Health Questionnaire) was included to determine level of psychological distress. Results: Females with IA reported significantly higher rates of decline in general health (40% vs 16%, p = 0.01), mood disturbance (43.4% vs 26%, p = 0.03) and increased disease activity (50% vs 16%, p = 0.01) compared to males. Evaluating the mean PHQ-4 scores, no significant difference was noted between genders (4.80 vs 3.44, p = 0.10). However, females demonstrated a non-significant trend toward increased rates of moderate to severe psychological distress (40% vs 30%, p = 0.13). Subanalysis of patients with axSpA found high rates of moderate to severe distress in both genders. Conclusions: Females with IA reported significantly higher rates of decline in general health, mood disturbance and increased disease activity during the period of social isolation. This was reflected in a trend towards greater levels of psychological distress.
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