WEDNESDAY, May 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Sleep problems are not excessive in patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis, according to a study recently published in RMD Open.

Lauren Lyne, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues investigated sleep quality and duration in 3,265 patients with newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (1998 to 2018) and during one to 12 years after diagnosis.

The researchers found that problems with at least one sleep domain (global sleep score) were reported in 38 percent of the observations and increased with disease duration. Individuals had a median time in bed of eight hours. There was an increased likelihood of sleep problems observed with high-grade pain (about a threefold to ninefold increase), as well as increased functional impairment (about a fourfold to eightfold increase).

“We find that problems with sleep in this modern-day cohort with access to effective treatment from diagnosis [are] not excessive and have decreased since early reports. We also find that having some form of problem with sleep and sleep problems increased with disease duration, but that reduced sleep quality to a much greater extent seemed to relate to disease measures such as pain and functional impairment,” the authors write. “Treatment of sleep problems in rheumatoid arthritis should, therefore, be guided towards treating the underlying problem, such as pain.”

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