Patients with long-term chronic conditions, such as Cushing’s disease or Klinefelter’s syndrome, appear to be at increased risk for long-term unemployment related to their disease.
Researchers compared unemployment rates with re-employment rates for 130 patients (81 women) aged 65 years or younger with Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, craniopharyngioma or Klinefelter’s syndrome. The researchers presented the results at the Annual Society for Endocrinology BES 2010 in Manchester, England.
Based on telephone questionnaires, 83 patients (63.8%) were employed at the time of diagnosis. However, 79 patients (60.8%) were later unemployed, related to their long-term chronic condition.
Seventy-seven patients (59.2%) reported being satisfied with their current working status and ability to work. Among those unemployed, nine of 53 patients (40.8%) said they would like to work but did not feel supported.
Although the study was small and did not include all chronic endocrine conditions, the researchers said data show a high rate of unemployment for this patient population.
“Long-term unemployment is a significant problem for people with chronic diseases,” John Wass, MD, professor of endocrinology at Oxford University and consultant endocrinologist at Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals, said in a press release. “More people should consider returning to work following diagnosis, and more doctors need to encourage and support their patients in this. While a return to work may not be suitable for all patients, it can significantly improve their well-being and quality of life.”
Wass J. Poster #116. Presented at: The Annual Society for Endocrinology BES meeting; March 15-18, 2010; Manchester, England.