Mental health may predict severity of inflammatory arthritis

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mental health, arthritis symptoms, inflammatory arthritis, arthritis information, arthritis magazine, arthritis digestThe severity of inflammatory arthritis disease may be predicted by the severity of mental health symptoms, experts outlined at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

A total of 148 people with inflammatory arthritis were assessed (average age was 58 years old, 72% were female). The volunteers reported the presence of depression or anxiety each year, and the researchers assessed the severity of symptoms and arthritis activity.

Key findings:

  • Fatigue was associated with depression and anxiety;
  • Increasing symptoms of anxiety and depression were associated with pain, fatigue, disease activity, tender joint count and mental health;
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein were linked with severity of depressive symptoms;
  • Worsening anxiety and depressive symptoms were associated with C-reactive protein.

“High anxiety and depression are associated with higher levels of pain, fatigue and poor function over time,” says Dr Renee El-Gabalawy, who is involved in the project. “There seems to be an independent effect for depressive symptoms.”

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