Clinical Briefs-By Louis Kuritzky, MD

Self-Reported Arthritis-Related Disruptions in Sleep and Daily Life and the Use of Medical, Complementary, and Self-Care Strategies for Arthritis

Despite evolution in arthritis management tools, arthritis re-mains the most common cause of disability in persons older than age 65. Using the population of subjects participating in the National Follow-up Survey of Self-care and Aging (n = 3485), Jordan and colleagues selected 1925 individuals for evaluation in this trial. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of arthritis on use of self-care, complementary therapies, and traditional medical care.

More than half of these persons reported that arthritis had limited their activities in the previous year, including sleep and leisure activity disruption in approximately one-third.

Typical management strategies included over-the-counter remedies (topical and systemic agents), physician consultation, local physical therapies (e.g., heat, cold, massage), rest, and prayer, each of which was used by at least 40% of the arthritis sufferers. Persons with sleep disruption due to arthritis were much more likely to seek physician consultation (odds ratio = 3.66) than those without.

The importance of disrupted sleep as a consequence of arthritis may have been underestimated. Not only is the sleep disruption of immediate consequence, it increases the likelihood of use of a variety of other self-care and health professional resources. Clinicians are encouraged to consider increasing their attention to sleep disruption as a consequence of arthritis.

Jordan JM, et al. Arch Fam Med 2000;9:143-149.