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Patients need Good Hormone Advice as it is fundamental to quality of life and work

Posted Mar 26 2010 3:41am

A new study has identified a significant shortfall in patients with life-long but treatable conditions re-entering employment. Led by Prof John Wass of the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, the group found that under half of patients with chronic endocrine conditions returned to work.

Endocrine conditions result in life-long imbalances in the body’s hormones, however, symptoms can be stabilised with medication and patients can enjoy a healthy, normal life.  However, patients suffering from chronic conditions may be at increased risk of long term unemployment, a known contributor to poorer health and increased health inequality.

Prof John Wass, Dr Barbara Alberts and Dr Emily Parker examined unemployment and return to work rates amongst people with a variety of long-term endocrine conditions; Addison’s disease, Cushing’s disease, craniopharyngioma and Klinefelter’s syndrome.  In a group of 130 patients, the study found a high rate of unemployment (40.8% vs 27.5% for the UK population). 60.8% reported a period of unemployment which was related to their disease, and only 40% of 130 patients had entered or re-entered work following a period of unemployment.

Researcher Prof John Wass, said: “Long term unemployment is a significant problem for people with chronic diseases.  More people should consider returning to work following diagnosis and more doctors need to encourage and support their patients in this.  Whilst a return to work may not be suitable for all patients, it can significantly improve their wellbeing and quality of life.  As a country, we need to provide more support services to allow people with long-term conditions to re-enter the workplace, at a rate that is feasible for them.”

In the women’s health context, Professor John Studd reports a similar picture. Women in particular will often incorrectly put the way they feel down to depression and therefore get inappropriate drug treatment. NHS GPs are poorly equipped to deal with this group of patients and so women often have to seek help elsewhere from leading specialists such as Prof Studd. However, his patients seem to be reporting that it is well worth it as it can open the door to a whole new quality of life.

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