Researchers have just announced another study that outlines the importance of sleep quality, this time creating a connection between fatigue and osteoarthritis. The study published in the Journal of Pain set out to show the association between sleep quality and increased pain and fatigue in older adults who suffer from symptomatic osteoarthritis (OA).
For those living with osteoarthritis, studies such as this can help prevent symptoms and risk for further pain associated with the health problem. If one component of health declines, it can negatively impact many others and keep you from thriving. It has long been hypothesized that sleep, physical activity, and arthritis pain are all connected.
The Most Common Condition of the Joints
Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition of the joints, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Half of all adults will develop symptoms of knee osteoarthritis in their lifetime. Primary OA is caused by gradual wear and tear on the joints, as well as normal aging. Secondary OA is commonly caused by another health condition or injury such as gout, obesity, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers conducted the study to assess how sleep quality affects fatigue and pain associated with OA during the following day. The study included a total of 160 patients with knee and/or hip osteoarthritis with a median age of 71 years who exhibited mild to moderate chronic pain and fatigue. All participants were required to complete daily diaries for five days, recording symptom intensity upon waking at 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm, and bedtime.
Participants also wore actigraphs on their wrists to monitor sleep duration and quality. Average sleep quality was reported to be fair, and the actigraphs results revealed that most experienced good sleep with a median duration of 7.35 hours, and an efficiency of 83.3%.
The study found that when assessing sleep quality, it was found that overall symptom intensity of pain and fatigue was significantly associated with worse pain and fatigue in the morning. There were, however, no significant associations between time of symptom measurement and actigraph-based sleep parameters.
Researchers spoke about the study, saying, “Our findings suggest potentially important implications for future studies of time-based interventions. People living with OA may be counseled about the likely outcome of a poor night’s sleep on their symptoms, and this information may be used to inform the optimal timing of pharmacological and/or non-pharmacological interventions to reduce pain and fatigue.”
This study is another reminder of how lifestyle changes can often be of help to those looking for non-pharmacological interventions to help manage the pain and fatigue of those suffering from OA. Sleep and nutrition have both been shown in research to help with the prevention and effects of osteoarthritis and should be utilized in the fight against the health problem.
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