Anxiety-Arthritis Connection

Arthritis Today|May/June 2020

Anxiety-Arthritis Connection
Persistent anxiety often occurs with arthritis. Here's how to calm it.
By Linda Rath

Anxiety runs high in a pandemic, adding to the daily stresses of dealing with arthritis. But unlike worry that understandably arises in certain situations, chronic anxiety never lets up, and it especially affects people with arthritis. It can make you jumpy and irritable, disrupt sleep and concentration and be accompanied by sweaty palms, headaches, muscle aches and a racing heart.

One theory as to why anxiety often occurs with arthritis involves inflammation, says Vinod Chandran, MD, an associate professor and rheumatologist at Toronto Western Hospital in Ontario. Because the brain and immune system are constantly communicating, inflammation that contributes to arthritis might also cause changes in the brain, he explains.

1 IN 3 PEOPLE - WITH ARTHRITIS AGE 45 OR OLDER ALSO HAS ANXIETY OR DEPRESSION

Theodore Fields, MD, a rheumatologist at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, suggests a more direct cause: fear of losing mobility and function.

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May/June 2020