Home Health & Wellness Depression and Anxiety in Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers: Triggering a Loneliness Epidemic

Depression and Anxiety in Rheumatoid Arthritis Sufferers: Triggering a Loneliness Epidemic

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The Mental Health Awareness Week on 9th15th May 2022 is just around the corner, providing a valuable opportunity to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilise support efforts.

The global prevalence of and depression has risen by a massive 25% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, at least in part attributed to increased loneliness, a key driver for poor mental health and the theme of this year’s event.

While the lack of social interaction may be subsiding with the end of the pandemic insight, loneliness remains for many. People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were found to have a high prevalence of loneliness even before the Covid-19 hit, which has only been exacerbated since the pandemic.

According to Versus Arthritis, over 430,000 adults in the UK currently have RA, an autoimmune disorder affecting the joints. Debilitating symptoms, such as chronic joint pain, inflammation, stiffness, reduced mobility, and fatigue, continue to impact mental health.

A survey by GOPO Joint Health showed that joint pain causes 25% of people living with arthritis to have their social life and ability to work affected, while 62% struggle with walking. As a result, these often contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

With one in five adults with arthritis said to experience anxiety and depression, RA is not just a physical condition. According to Dr Alastair Dickson, GP and health economist with interest in rheumatology and arthritis: ‘One of the major problems of persistent pain, including rheumatoid arthritis, is low mood and depression. The risk increases if your pain affects mobility, energy levels and ability to work.’ 

‘Pain symptoms can also be more intense if you have a low mood or are depressed, and it is typically harder to treat the pain if you do not address the mental health issues.  If you are struggling with low mood or depression from your pain, there is help available and it is really important that you contact your primary care team who can help you with this.’

These consequences of joint pain highlight the need for a broader approach to the care of arthritis patients, and a sustainable long-term solution to pain relief, hoping that the overall quality of life is improved.

Fortunately, lifestyle changes, such as the inclusion of scientifically-backed food supplements, offer hope for patientsenabling a greater level of socialisation and having a knock-on effect on mental well-being. Experts believe that a key ingredient derived from rose hips, a galactolipid known as GOPO, could help to reduce pain and tenderness in joints.

Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr Rod Hughes, says: ‘Rose-hip extracts have a long history of medicinal use, with consistent and robust research having been undertaken on extracts from a specific species of rosehip called Rosa canina, which has been found to contain a potent anti-inflammatory galactolipid (or GOPO for short), with analgesic and antioxidative effects.’

‘GOPO has been investigated in several well-designed studies, several involving people with RA. These studies found that daily supplementation of GOPO can rapidly reduce joint pain, stiffness and swelling, improve joint mobility and reduce the need for standard painkillers over several months.’

‘Consistently positive results and a favourable safety profile suggest GOPO will have an increasingly important role in managing joint pain, without the side effects of conventional anti-inflammatory drugs or pain killers.’

Several clinical studies have backed up the positive effects of GOPO on joint health. In a double-blind, randomised controlled trial, RA patients received supplementation of the active compound, known as GOPO, or a placebo for a 6-month period.

During the trial, the overall tenderness of painful joints was reduced considerably amongst those taking GOPO, and overall quality of life was greatly improved. Activity among the GOPO group improved by up to25%, and the number of joints causing pain or discomfort fell by 40%.

Considering the influence that joint pain has on anxiety and depression, anti-inflammatory supplements such as GOPO may play a key role in increasing the all-around well-being of people living with arthritis, enabling a greater level of mobility and socialisation.

GOPO Joint Health is the only available product containing high levels of GOPO, due to a special patented cultivation process and is available from Boots, Amazon, supermarkets and independent chemists nationwide. Visit here for further information. 

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