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The rate of work disability (WD) among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) varies from a few per cent in some studies to one-third of the IBD population in other studies.1–3 Differences in rates may to some extent depend on whether disability is self-reported or based on actual numbers of patients receiving disability pension (DP). However, even when focusing specifically on the number of patients receiving DP, rates vary markedly between study populations, potentially due to (1) differences in study designs, for example, selective assessment of patients from tertiary referral centres representing the more severely ill part of patients, which may be more likely to receive DP; (2) differences in length of follow-up of populations, if cumulative morbidity is seen as a predictor for DP; and (3) differences between regions or countries in societal acceptance of disease, in effort to help people back at work, or in accepted qualifications for DP.
Dr Høivik and colleagues present the results of a 10-year follow-up study on WD and DP in a well-characterised, population-based and prospectively followed Norwegian IBSEN cohort.3 The IBSEN cohort represents all patients diagnosed with IBD during 1990–1993 (n=843) in a well-defined part of south-eastern Norway. Patients have been followed prospectively from diagnosis of IBD …