Depression, anxiety, sleep troubles common in primary Sjögren’s syndrome

13 Aug 2022
Depression, anxiety, sleep troubles common in primary Sjögren’s syndrome

Patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS) show high levels of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, reports a recent study. Cognitive impairments are also prevalent in this patient population.

The study included 32 paSS patients who had complaints regarding cognition and memory. All participants underwent a comprehensive battery of cognitive tests administered by neuropsychologists, with tools such as the Mini-Mental State Examination and the Stroop Color and Word Interference test. Validated scales were also used to assess patient fatigue, sleep disorder, psychiatric comorbidities, and quality of life.

All patients had a cognitive impairment. Eighty-six percent presented with complaints of abnormal memory, while 84 percent had borderline or outright pathological scores for memory function. Similarly, 94 percent and 30 percent had borderline or pathological results for executive function or instrumental function. More than half had a pathological neurocognitive profile for at least one cognitive function.

Most patients also had sleep disorders, with 55 percent and 71 percent demonstrating excessive daytime sleepiness and insomnia, respectively. Forty-five percent were also considered at-risk of sleep apnoea. Abnormal fatigue was detected in 32 percent of patients.

In terms of psychiatric comorbidity, 12 percent of patients were found to be depressed, 42 percent of whom had severe depression. Nearly half (48 percent) of participants had mild-to-very severe anxiety, while 53 percent suffered from poor self-esteem.

“We found that global memory, executive functioning, and attentional resources are objectively impaired in pSS patients with cognitive complaints,” the researchers said. “However, their tight interplay with depression and anxiety should be considered by physicians in daily practice and may require psychological or even psychiatric management.”

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