Osteoarthritis Can Increase Your Risk for Social Isolation

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research Summary

When older adults become lonely—a condition health professionals call “social isolation”—their health and well-being can suffer. In fact, there may be a link between being socially isolated and osteoarthritis (arthritis) which causes joint pain and can limit your ability to get around.

People who have arthritis often have other health issues which may increase their risk of becoming socially isolated. These include anxiety and depression, being afraid to move around (because arthritis makes moving painful), physical inactivity, and being unable to take care of themselves.

Some 30 percent of adults aged 65 and older have arthritis to some degree, especially in their leg joints. Despite that, until now there has been little research on the relationship between arthritis and social isolation.

In a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined information from the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) study. They wanted to learn whether there is an association between arthritis and social isolation, and to identify the disease’s contribution to social isolation. Continue reading

Is Knee Pain Linked to Depression?

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society Research Summary

In the U.S., about 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men aged 60 or older have knee pain due to osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis occurs when a joint becomes inflamed, usually because the protective cartilage and other tissues that cushion joints like the knee become damaged and worn over time. Knee pain from OA can make it harder to take care of yourself, which can damage your quality of life. In turn, that can lead to depression.

According to researchers, knee OA affects some 55 percent of people over age 40 in Japan. A research team from the country recently published a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examining the effects of knee pain on depression since, until now, few studies have focused on how knee pain and impaired knee function relate to depression.

To learn more, the researchers examined information from 573 people aged 65 or older who participated in the Kurabuchi Study, an ongoing look at the health of older adults living in central Japan. Continue reading