Study shows almost one-third of Welsh adults struggling with long term pain
Thousands of Welsh adults have not learnt to live with the symptoms of persistent health conditions, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Cardiology.
The research, carried out by Dr. Ivy Shiue, Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at Heriot-Watt University, analysed data from a recent Welsh national health survey covering 15,687 adults to assess how many were either receiving treatment for or learning to live with common symptoms.
Nearly 30% reported that they struggled to cope with the mental or physical pains associated with their illness, which can range from shortness of breath for people suffering asthma to feelings of anxiety for those with mental health conditions. Around 20% said they had learnt to live with their chronic conditions, while the remainder of the respondents reported that they had either seen a doctor within the previous year or did not have a long-term illness.
The study revealed that those with mental health problems were the least likely to be able to live with their symptoms, with up to 10% of Welsh adults reportedly suffering from untreated depressive or anxious symptoms.
Dr Shiue said, "Evidence shows that people who have not learnt to live with symptoms related to their illness experience noticeably worse quality of life. The burden is especially high for those with mental health conditions, who may start to lose hope and, in the worst case scenario, they could exacerbate their health problems and even take their own life."
According to Dr. Shiue, investment in, and improvement of, patient self care programmes could help reduce the painful symptoms associated with historical health conditions.