September is Arthritis Awareness month, and there is a lot to be said for its connection to sleep apnea, and of sleep problems in general.A study done in the UK in 2012 states that heavy snorers are twice as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. It also mentions that a large portion of arthritis patients who have sleep problems, also develop sleep apnea.
So how do we put these two together?
Let’s start with what we know: according to the arthritis society of Canada, over 4.6 million Canadian adults report having arthritis, and this number will grow to about 7.5 million in 2036. We often think of arthritis only affecting senior citizens, but it can happen to people at any age (cases have been reported as young as the teen years!)
It is known as “joint inflammation” and it has no cure. People who have this condition often experience a lot of pain as a result. While medication does help to alleviate the pain in some cases, it can only do so much.
This is why sleep problems are so common in arthritis patients. And when you combine the symptoms of arthritis with what we know about sleep apnea, having a decent night’s sleep can be very difficult for arthritis patients.
For this reason, getting proper treatment to sleep apnea is crucial. Too many people, weather they have arthritis or not, miss out on this. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that has too many negative consequences if left untreated. So many people may think that it doesn’t affect them, or they may feel too overwhelmed with their arthritis treatments and appointments to even think about seeing a sleep specialist.
Remember this: sleep has a huge impact on how you live your day to day life, and lack of sleep (or a bad night’s sleep) affects your productivity levels, your energy levels and more.
If you have arthritis and you are experiencing problems sleeping, simply start by asking your doctor for advice. They may either give you some tips, or refer you to a specialist if it’s something more serious.