Posted by: ugleepen | March 3, 2011

Treating Sleep Disturbances in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients May Have Additional Benefits

journal of sleep medicineI came across the following article: “Poor Sleep Quality is Associated with Greater Disability in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients” and thought this might shed some light on the condition for any of you who are suffering from RA.

The study was published in the February 15, 2011, issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. It found that poor sleep quality correlated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, greater pain severity, increased fatigue, and greater functional disability in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The study suggests that addressing sleep problems via pharmacological or behavioral interventions may have a critical impact on the health and lives of patients with RA.

According to the results of the study, 61 percent of the patients were poor sleepers and 33 percent reported having pain that disturbed their sleep three or more times per week.

“The primary finding of our study is that poor sleep quality is associated with greater functional disability among patients with RA and this relationship may be explained by pain severity and fatigue,” said lead author Dr. Faith S. Luyster, research assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“These results highlight the importance of addressing sleep complaints among patients with RA. By treating sleep problems either pharmacologically or behaviorally, symptoms and activity limitations associated with RA may be reduced,” Luyster explained.

The researchers pointed out that physical disability in patients with RA may limit their ability to carry out daily activities such as dressing, walking, grooming, and writing – tasks that can be further restricted by fatigue, pain severity, and depression.

It is possible that functional disability may affect depression, pain severity and fatigue, which in turn may affect sleep quality. It is likely, the researchers said, that the relationships are bidirectional to some extent. For example, Luyster explained “Not sleeping well at night can contribute to greater pain sensitivity and fatigue during the day which in turn can limit a patient’s ability to engage in activities of daily living and discretionary activities.”

Luyster noted that treating sleep disturbances in RA patients might have beneficial effects beyond improving sleep.

Another benefit for those of you suffering from RA is to use my ergonomic pen whenever you write. It has been scientifically designed to be relaxing, requiring very little “grip” on your part. This makes it comfortable and easy to use for anyone with arthritic conditions to finger and hand joints.

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