The World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10th October 2020) is just around the corner; an event committed to raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilising support efforts. The importance of mental health is increasingly in the spotlight, however often overlooked is the hidden impact of chronic health conditions such as arthritis on an often invisible, but considerable, proportion of society.
A new study, published last month in the European Journal of Pain, highlights a strong link between the persistent pain experienced by arthritis patients and increased suffering from anxiety and depression.
Ten million people in the UK live with arthritis, a figure that is predicted to rise to 17 million by 2030. Sufferers experience debilitating symptoms including chronic joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, reduced mobility and fatigue, causing lifestyle changes that impact all areas of wellbeing.
According to a recent Joint Health of the Nation Report, 1 in 5 adults with arthritis have been found to experience depression and anxiety, largely as a result of the increased pain of arthritic joints. Studies have shown that pain is the largest impacting factor to health-related quality of life within the UK, followed by depression and osteoarthritis – a condition of which one-third of the population aged over 45 have sought treatment.
A survey by GOPO Joint Health found that joint pain caused:
- 62% to struggle with walking
- 25% to have their social life and ability to work impacted
- Nearly 50% to have difficulty getting in and out of the car
As a result, many were found to suffer from loneliness and isolation, causing a profound impact on mental health and contributing to 20% suffering from depression and anxiety. These results highlight the need for a broader approach to the care of arthritis patients, and a sustainable long-term solution to pain relief.
According to the mental health charity Mind, signs that someone is suffering from depression include; lack of interest in activities, changes in sleep patterns, lack of energy, inability to concentrate, weight loss or gain and suicidal thoughts. Meanwhile, anxiety is characterised by feelings of tension, panic and worry as well as increased blood pressure.
According to Dr Alastair Dickson, GP and Health Economist with an interest in rheumatology and arthritis: ‘Osteoarthritis is common with patients typically presenting complaining of joint pain. This pain affects patients’ quality of life. Studies show that persistent pain can lead to depression as well as restricting activities. Accessing advice on ways to manage and treat your osteoarthritis is best done early, with chemists, first contact physiotherapists as well as GPs able to give you advice on self-management and treatment. Self-management options might include keeping mobile through daily exercise, losing weight, over the counter medications and supplements.’
Scientifically-backed food supplements offer hope for patients seeking pain relief without dependence on painkillers, which are shown to have potentially harmful side effects if taken long-term. Experts believe that a key ingredient, the natural anti-inflammatory compound GOPO, derived from rose-hips could help to reduce pain and tenderness in joints, without the risk of side effects.
Numerous extensive scientific studies have shown that the galactolipid GOPO produces significant and consistent pain relief and improved joint function, enabling reduced consumption of painkillers by as much as 40% over a three-month period. In one study, 8 out of 10 patients reported a significant reduction in pain after just three weeks of GOPO.
The success of GOPO Joint Health in relieving joint pain and increasing mobility enables those affected by joint health conditions to maintain a fulfilling and active life, free from the burden of their symptoms.
Top 5 tips for good mental health while managing arthritis
- Take regular, gentle exercise like walking, swimming and yoga to keep your joints supple while also increasing endorphin production – the feel-good hormone!
- Take a natural supplement, such as GOPO Joint Health, to help maintain your joint health and improve mood and well-being.
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and at least two portions of oily fish per week. Fresh foods and nuts contain antioxidant nutrients that can help reduce inflammation and protect against cell damage and the fish oils can help prevent and manage arthritic conditions.
- Get good sleep. Quality sleep is known to reduce inflammation in the body and thus pain. Create a strict bedtime routine, avoiding electronic devices before bed as well as caffeine and alcohol.
- Do something for yourself! From your favourite hobby to spending time with friends or even just relaxing with your favourite book can all help alleviate stress and improve mental health.