Depression Common With Arthritis Late In Life
September 25, 2018
Arthritis is commonly found in adults over age 50 with varying degrees of depression ranging from minor to severe. That is the latest result from according a new study published on September 19, 2018, in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
Most Older Adults Diagnosed With Severe Depression Also Had Arthritis
Researchers observed data collected from 2,438 women and 2,309 men over age 50 from a 2011 to 2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Those surveyed were screened for depressive symptoms and self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis. The study showed that 55 percent of those experiencing minor also had an arthritis diagnosis, while 62.9 percent of people with moderate depression and 67.8 percent percent of people with severe depression also receiving a diagnosis of arthritis.
According to the study, higher rates of arthritis were reported by older men and women with varying degrees of depression, compared with people without subclinical and clinical levels of depression. Despite the researchers adjusting for variables such as age, gender, race, education, smoking status, binge drinking, sedentary behavior, , , hypertension, and heart disease, there were still significant connections between moderate depression and arthritis.
Chronic Joint Pain, Arthritis Rates Increase With Age
Within the older group itself, the rates of arthritis grew significantly higher. Among those people with moderate depression, arthritis rates jumped from 53.1 percent in adults ages 50 to 59 to 69.2 percent in adults ages 60 to 69. In people experiencing severe depression, arthritis rates rose measurably from 59.6 percent in adults ages 50 to 59 to 73.7 percent in adults ages 60 to 69.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Depression
According to the American Psychiatric Association, you may be experiencing depression if you have symptoms such as:
- Feeling sadness or a depressed mood
- A loss of interest or pleasure in activities you once enjoyed
- Significant weight loss or weight gain not related to dieting
- Sleeplessness or sleeping too much
- Increased fatigue and a general loss of energy
- An increase of physical activity without purpose, such as pacing
- Slowed movements and speech
- A feeling of worthlessness or guilt
- Difficulty in making decisions or concentrating
By the American Psychiatric Association guidelines, a person experiencing some of these symptoms for more than a period of two weeks can result in a clinical diagnosis of depression.
Researchers for the study say that addressing arthritis in mental health treatment and behavioral medicine may help lower the overlapping symptoms in older adults with depressive symptoms and arthritis, which can often times be difficult to separate through a doctor’s brief screening procedures. It may also be difficult for people to be treated for arthritis through conventional medical care for depression.
Does Arthritis Cause Depression? Chicken and Egg Question Is Still Unsolved
Vinicius Domingues, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in Daytona, Florida, and a medical advisor to CreakyJoints, believes that while the research may be helpful, it still hasn’t quite cracked the code of whether arthritis causes depression or if depression may actually begin to lead to a patient developing arthritis. “While the article outlines the correlation between clinical depression and the presence of arthritis in a well-established database, you can’t imply any causation, to either arthritis causing depression or the other way around,” Dr. Domingues said. “Clinicians should be aware of subtle arthritis-related symptoms in patients with depressive behavior and refer them to a rheumatologist so patients can receive proper treatment.”
What Is the Definition of Arthritis?
Arthritis is not a single disease; the term refers to joint pain or joint disease. Common arthritis joint symptoms include swelling, pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, and arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America.
Though the assessment of arthritis in the study did not differentiate between specific types of arthritis, various types of arthritis include:
Gout This form of arthritis causes painful, swollen, stiff joints. The big toe is the most common place for a attack to happen, though gout can attack many different joints in the body. People with gout typically experience flare-ups, or attacks, of followed by periods with no symptoms.
Osteoarthritis (OA) This is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs with the wearing down of the cartilage between bones over time. Common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness and tenderness, an overall loss of body flexibility, and occasional bone spurs around the affected joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) This is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disorder, in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. RA often causes painful swelling in the body’s joints, particularly the wrists, knees, elbows, ankles, hips, and shoulders. In addition to becoming swollen, joints can become painfully stiff, particularly in the morning. RA symptoms also include debilitating fatigue.
Older Adults Must Be Screened for Arthritis and for Depression
The study’s authors recommended that mental health care providers should give regular arthritis-related pain assessments and evidence-based treatments for patients who have or are at risk to have clinical depression. The authors are hopeful that the study’s findings shine a light on the importance for older patients to be properly screened and treated for arthritis-related pain, particularly those experiencing any form of depression. They also suggest that future research is necessary to determine how physical, psychosocial, and treatment factors may interact, to better determine the association between depression and arthritis in older adults.
This content was originally published here.