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Mental Distress Common in Adults with Arthritis

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Many adults with arthritis suffer frequent mental distress, and this goes hand-in-hand with an impaired quality of life, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

However, the findings also suggest that patients can do some things to improve their situation. Dr. Tara W. Strine and colleagues looked at data from the 2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which included 48,577 participants with arthritis who were 45 years of age or older. The team defined frequent mental distress as having at least 14 self-reported mentally unhealthy days in the preceding 30 days. They found that 13.4 percent of participants with arthritis had frequent mental distress, compared with 5.4 percent of subjects without arthritis who were included in the surveillance study. Among the people with arthritis, those with frequent mental distress were 1.7 times more likely to be underweight than normal weight, and 1.2 times more likely to be obese, than those without frequent mental distress, the researchers report in the medical journal Arthritis and Rheumatism. In addition, arthritic subjects with frequent mental distress were 1.6 times more likely to be inactive. This group was also more likely to report their health as fair or poor and to have at least 14 physically unhealthy days in the past 30 days, compared with other people who had arthritis but did not suffer frequent mental distress. “New public health interventions need to be developed that address the specific challenges of those with mental distress and arthritis,” the researchers write. “In addition, physicians should encourage their patients with arthritis and mental distress to participate in current educational and behavioral interventions proven to have both physical and psychological benefits.” (SOURCE: Arthritis and Rheumatism: Reuters Health News: September 2004.)

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Posted On: 13 September, 2004
Modified On: 7 December, 2013


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