Fatigue had the greatest impact on daily activities in people with primary Sjögren’s syndrome and was one of many symptoms associated with increased anxiety, depression and physical limitations, according to a recent study. British.
This effect was markedly reduced in patients with longer disease duration, suggesting that disease self-management improves over time, the researchers noted.
The results provide insight into how the disease affects daily life so that additional treatment options can be offered, the researchers said. “This study demonstrates the importance of early intervention with support for symptom management, especially fatigue,” the researchers wrote.
The study, “Activity interference in patients with Sjögren’s syndrome: a cross-sectional study of 149 patients in the UKwas published in Rheumatology.
Sjögren’s disease is a chronic autoimmune disease characterized by symptoms such as dry eyes, pain, fatigue, and brain fog, all of which can significantly interfere with daily activities and negatively impact quality of life.
A team of researchers in the US and UK conducted a comprehensive analysis of self-reported symptoms, daily activities, and mental and physical health in 149 patients (88.9% female) who participated in the UK Registry of Sjögren’s syndrome to better understand how symptoms affect quality of life.
Patients completed questionnaires about how each of Sjögren’s five symptoms – pain, fatigue, mood, dryness, and brain fog/mental fatigue – interfered with nine different life activities, with a higher score reflecting greater impact. The questionnaires were modified for each symptom, using the standard Comprehensive Pain Assessment Questionnaire (CPEQ) as the basis.
The nine daily activities were physical exercise, household chores, gardening or shopping, socializing, hobbies/hobbies, sex, and mental efficiency.
Fatigue was the symptom that interfered the most with daily activities, having the highest scores in seven categories. Exercising, gardening or shopping, and performing household chores were the most significantly impacted activities.
Almost half of all participants (46.6%) were considered to have abnormal or borderline abnormal anxiety scores, as measured by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
As activity interference increased in any of the five symptoms, HADS scores also increased, indicating worsening anxiety and depression with greater lifestyle disruptions. Similarly, physical function, as measured by the Enhanced Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ), deteriorated with increased interference with activity.
According to the researchers, the data indicates that the disruptions in lifestyle caused by Sjögren’s symptoms significantly affect mental and physical health.
The study also showed that patients with disease duration longer than nine years were not as worried about the effects of the disease on their daily activities.
“This analysis indicates that the more a patient with [Sjögren’s] is diagnosed, the better they are able to adapt their expectations and lifestyle,” the research team wrote. “This trend is seen in other chronic diseases like [rheumatoid arthritis] and Crohn’s disease where patients feel their condition, over time, is less of a burden.
The researchers said the study offers additional insight into the factors that most limit activity levels. “By tailoring treatment to these key symptoms earlier, patients can learn to manage their condition sooner after diagnosis,” the researchers wrote.
They noted, however, that the symptoms and their effects on daily activities were closely linked, and that a helpful therapeutic approach might find ways to target multiple symptoms at once.
“Availability of self-management support for fatigue and associated symptoms may lead to improvement in more than one symptom, reduce activity interference, and ultimately improve quality of life,” they wrote.