Sedentary Behavior Not Linked to Fatigue, Pain in RA


EULAR 2013: A study analyzing levels of physical activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients finds that being sedentary does not generally correlate with common signs of physical disability.

While sedentary behavior is prevalent in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) a Danish study suggests that being sedentary is not associated with pain, reduced activity, poor sleep and physical disability seen in RA.

The study of 500 RA outpatient patients, ages 22 to 88, finds that older age appears to be more associated with being more sedentary in RA than disease activity, nurse Katrine Lppenthin and a group of other investigators from the University of Copenhagen reported at the EULAR meeting in Madrid, Spain.

After dividing the patients into three groups based on sedentary behavior-- low (0.5-3 hours per day), moderate (>3-5 hour per day) and high(>5-16 hour per day) – the researchers found only a slight association between levels of sedentary behavior and the physical fatigue subscale of the multidimensional fatigue inventory (MFI).

But after adjusting for age, sex, pain, fatigue, HAQ-score, sleep and disease activity, not only was sedentary behavior not found to be linked with pain, but it was also not associated with other MFI subscales (general and mental fatigue), nor with reduced activity or motivation. 

However, given the high prevalence of inactivity among RA patients (a mean duration of 4.4 hours per day) the study concludes that more research is needed to properly promote reductions in sedentary behavior.

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