How does rheumatoid disease impact your career?

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A 2015 study found that people with rheumatoid disease missed nearly 14 workdays each year - compared to 10 in the general population. 

People with rheumatoid disease (aka rheumatoid arthritis) face additional professional challenges.

These range from having to attend regular medical appointments, to dealing with daily pain and fatigue.

Physical professions like nursing and construction can be very demanding for people with rheumatoid disease. Jobs that involve lengthy commutes, long hours and late-night socializing are also hard.

It can be difficult dealing with co-workers who do not understand the disease. They may have some inaccurate ideas about what rheumatoid is and how it is managed. 

This can translate into unwanted advice (‘have you tried yoga?’) or unfair assumptions about rheumatoid patients being lazy or whiny. 

For these reasons, some rheumatoid patients hide their condition at work.

Overall, it is harder to move up the career ladder.  Some rheumatoid patients change jobs or retire early.

Flexible working arrangements or working from home can help rheumatoid patients stay at work. The Arthritis Foundation has a great guide on flexible working arrangements.

If you are struggling with work, make sure that you know your legal rights. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment. Other countries have similar forms of legislation.


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