-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- If your partner suffers
chronic pain from knee osteoarthritis, your sleep and mood may
suffer as well, according to a new study.
The study included 145 couples in which one partner had knee
osteoarthritis that caused moderate to intense pain. The
participants recorded their levels of pain, sleep quality and
levels of feeling rested or refreshed in the morning over 22
When patients reported higher levels of knee pain at the end of
the day, their spouses slept poorly that night and felt less
refreshed in the morning. Spouses who awoke with symptoms of
depression and bad mood were more likely to have poor sleep quality
and less refreshing sleep.
Couples with the closest marriage bonds had the strongest
association between patient pain levels and the spouse's ability to
get a good night's sleep, according to the study in the September
issue of the journal
"Sleep is a critical health behavior, and individuals whose sleep is affected by their partner's pain are at risk for physical and psychiatric problems," lead investigator Lynn Martire, of Penn State University, said in a journal news release. "Spouses whose sleep is compromised may also be less able to respond empathically to patients' symptoms and need for support."
Many patients with knee pain have trouble getting comfortable in
bed and staying asleep, and their restlessness can disturb their
partner's sleep, the researchers explained.
"Compromised sleep caused by exposure to a loved one's suffering may be one pathway to spousal caregivers' increased risk for health problems, including cardiovascular disease," Martire said.
"Our findings suggest that assessing the extent to which partners are closely involved in each other's lives would help to identify spouses who are especially at risk for being affected by patient symptoms and in need of strategies for maintaining their own health and well-being," she added.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about
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