Sleep problems in people who also suffer from osteoarthritis can cause people to become even more disabled over time, a new study claims. Around 1.6 million Australians are affected by some kind of osteoarthritis, being particularly common in people aged over forty five and especially women.
It is a major cause of the reduction of quality and life and disability for Australians, causing the cartilage at the end of bones to become thinner and rougher, resulting in the bones themselves growing outwards and thickening and inflaming the joints around the capsules. This can ultimately have a severe affect on mobility, and even result in the need for people to use stairlifts in their own home.
Studies show that the likelihood of people experiencing problems with their sleep is also increased by arthritis but it is yet uncertain which comes first and how both sleep and pain problems are impacted by mood.
The new study, which was conducted in the United States, saw three hundred and sixty seven adults who have been diagnosed with arthritis of the knee fill out questionnaires about depression, pain, sleep disturbances, functional limitations and pain. Around seventy percent of those questioned reported that they suffered from some kind of sleep disturbance.
Pain and lack of sleep cause depression
In follow-up interviews the same respondents also talked about frequently waking up in the middle of the night, waking up too early, or having serious difficulty getting to sleep in the first place.
In terms of physical functioning, they rated their ability to be and walk, arm function, their ability to perform ordinary household duties, finger and hand function, and general mobility.
Those who suffered from sleep disorders were found to be much more likely to suffer from depression and also experienced more severe pain than those people without difficulty sleeping. Sleep problems were linked even more strongly to serious symptoms of depression for those with greater knee pain.
Although the study did not seem to indicate that sleep issues caused more pain, there appears to be some kind of connection between downstream disability and pain. Many people do not realize just how important sleep really is to their overall health and help is available for those who need it. There are also a number of self-help measures and treatments accessible for those who suffer from osteoarthritis.