Impact of Rheumatoid Arthritis on Quality of Life

May 7, 2009

The Taipei Veterans General Hospital in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation evaluated the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on patients� lives and the aspect of their lives that may change as a result of the diagnosis.

A recent study from the Taipei Veterans General Hospital in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation addressed the impact of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on patients’ lives and the aspect of their lives that may change as a result of the diagnosis.

Three criteria were outlined for examination in the study: relationships between patients' aerobic fitness and general health perceptions, relationships between functional aerobic impairment and general health perceptions, and the impact of body mass index (BMI) on RA patients' cardiopulmonary functioning.

The study included 66 people with RA -10 men and 56 women. After “maximum graded exercise tolerance testing to determine their subsequent aerobic fitness,” they were asked to fill out a version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life brief form (WHOQOL-BREF) questionnaire.

Spearman's correlation analyses were used to determine ties between “variables of the WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire and patients' aerobic fitness.”

The results:

1. “VO(2 peak) was on average 92.00% +/- 13.37% and 77.93% +/- 20.24% of that predicted for age-matched men and women, respectively. The female patients' BMI was significantly lower than that of the reference data (P < 0.0001).”

2. “Spearman's correlation coefficient demonstrated a significant association between WHOQOL-BREF scores and VO(2 peak) in the physical (P = 0.002; mobility, work) and psychological (P = 0.009; self-esteem, body image, and negative feelings) domains for the female patients. It also demonstrated a significant association between the WHOQOL-BREF scores and functional aerobic impairment in the physical (P = 0.006; energy, mobility, activity), psychological (P = 0.008; self-esteem and body images), and environment (P = 0.035; finance, service) domains for the female patients.”

“Our results indicated that impaired aerobic fitness, combined with poor physical and psychological well-being, influenced midlife transition in Taiwanese RA women,” said the researchers.

Findings of the study were published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology

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