The effect of multiple sclerosis on the professional life of a group of Brazilian patients

O efeito da esclerose múltipla na vida profissional de um grupo de pacientes brasileiros

Yára Dadalti Fragoso Alessandro Finkelsztejn Maria Cristina B. Giacomo Liliana Russo Wesley Soares Cruz About the authors

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of multiple sclerosis (MS) on the professional life of Brazilian patients. METHOD: One hundred MS patients were randomly selected from the database of the Brazilian Multiple Sclerosis Association (ABEM). An individual interview was carried out by telephone by a member of ABEM, who collected data on the patients' clinical status, educational level and professional lives. RESULTS: Complete data were obtained from 96 patients (27 males and 69 females) aged 55.0±14.1 years, with average disease duration of 4.6±4.0 years). Eighty percent had eleven or more years of schooling. Among the whole group, 66% did not present limitations on walking. The longer the disease duration and the older the patient were, the higher the chances were that the patient was retired or receiving workers' compensation benefits. However, even among patients with MS for less than five years, the rate of non-participation in the workforce was 47.7%. Fatigue, paresthesia, cognitive dysfunction and pain were often cited as the motives for not working. CONCLUSION: MS patients presented high levels of unemployment, retirement and receipt of workers' compensation benefits, despite their high schooling levels. Age, disease duration and disability influenced these results for the whole group. However, even among younger patients with shorter disease duration and low disability, this finding remained.

multiple sclerosis; work; retirement; economics

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