Sleep Problems in Rheumatoid Arthritis | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Sleep Problems in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Taking on sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis

Sleep Problems in Rheumatoid ArthritisI take pictures of posters at ACR meetings to help remember things I want to study more or write about for you! Two posters this past ACR were about sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis. Sleep is one of those RA / RD topics people never stop asking me about.

In the past, I’ve written about strategies to take on sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis / disease and overcome them as much as possible (some links below). But this time, we’re looking at the relationship between sleep problems and RA / RD. Does the disease contribute to sleep problems? Do sleep problems make disease symptoms worse?

Over the past 14 years, nothing has worked to suppress my own severe RD but steroids. SO, I definitely know I’m in for a great night’s sleep the days after joint injections or a Depo-Medrol shot. Or of course at the end of a particularly bad RD-day, extra prednisone could also help me rest. So there was never any doubt that my sleep quality and high levels of disease activity were related.

Let’s see what these new studies have to say:

More sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis

Self Reported Sleep Disturbances RA posterThe first poster, Self-Reported Sleep Disturbances in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), used survey data from FORWARD, the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases (2623 people with rheumatoid disease / PRD). They determined that the RA population has more problems with sleep quality than the non-RA general population. The study shows that RA disease activity is consistently associated with sleep disturbances. They suggest that sleep disturbances might also contribute to increased disease activity through increased inflammation. They found both obstructive sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome to be more common in PRD than in the general population.

#Rheum disease causes sleep problems, which make RA/RD worse, which causes sleep problems which… Click To Tweet

The impact of sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis

Sleep Quality in Patients with RA posterThe second poster, Sleep Quality in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Associated with Disease Activity and Depressive Symptoms, concluded that sleep problems are prevalent in people with RA /RD. They surveyed 146 women with RA, asking them about problems including difficulty initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, and early morning awakening. They found that in addition to RA disease activity, depressed mood contributes to poor sleep. The study acknowledged that sleep problems impact quality of life and worsen other RA symptoms.

WHAT DO HAVE TO SAY ABOUT SLEEP PROBLEMS IN RA? DOES RA CAUSE SLEEP PROBLEMS? DO SLEEP PROBLEMS MAKE RA WORSE?

Recommended reading

FOOTNOTES

Katz P, Pedro S, Michaud K. Self-Reported Sleep Disturbances in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/self-reported-sleep-disturbances-in-rheumatoid-arthritis-ra/. Accessed March 3, 2020.

Da Costa D, Szlachetka T, Lacaille D. Sleep Quality in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Associated with Disease Activity and Depressive Symptoms [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/sleep-quality-in-women-with-rheumatoid-arthritis-is-associated-with-disease-activity-and-depressive-symptoms/. Accessed March 3, 2020.

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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