Invisible Disease – Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic Fatigue

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NRAS & 2020health Report

This report details the wide-ranging and significant impacts that chronic fatigue has on quality of life and work for people with RA. Much more needs to be done to measure and treat this aspect of the disease, to mitigate its impact on work and daily life, and to promote messages about chronic fatigue in public awareness campaigns about the disease symptoms, which encourage early diagnosis.


“The results from the survey are eye-opening. The survey respondents’ ranked chronic fatigue as the least understood symptom of RA by the public. Nine out of ten survey respondents said they suffered with chronic fatigue, of which nearly two-thirds said onset appeared before diagnosis. Equally troubling, the majority of respondents said they experienced chronic fatigue on three or more days during the previous week and that this lasted for several hours at a time. Over three quarters of respondents said chronic fatigue had a high or medium level impact. Two thirds of all respondents said their healthcare professional never or rarely asked them about their fatigue and over three quarters had never attempted to measure it.” 

Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society

“The findings of this survey make compelling reading. They remind us just how much more we need to do to ensure that people suffering with RA are able to lead happy and fulfilling lives while managing the effects of chronic fatigue. The survey resonated with us on a number of levels, but two areas in particular are most striking and relevant to our work at 2020health: firstly, the numbers of people who experienced difficulty working and staying in the workplace, and secondly, those reporting that the effects of their chronic fatigue were not addressed by professionals. Whilst sadly not surprising, these are areas that needs urgent attention.”

Julia Manning, Chief Executive, 2020health

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