Physical Activity Goals Can Greatly Benefit Lives Of RA Patients

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Main Category: Arthritis / Rheumatology
Also Included In: Rehabilitation / Physical Therapy;  Sports Medicine / Fitness
Article Date: 25 Aug 2011 – 4:00 PDT

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According to an investigation now available in Arthritis Care and Research, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), investigators from The Netherlands report physical activity goals are more likely to be achieved if the patient with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has a higher level of self-efficacy for physical activity. Achievement of physical activity goals is linked with lower self-reported arthritis pains and increased health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease which causes inflammation in the lining of joints and The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that it affects almost 1% of the worlds population. The ACR reports that in the U.S. 1.3 million adults suffer from RA. Investigations revealed that patients cite pain and stiffness as the biggest limiting factors of their illness, and report lower HRQOL than healthy individuals. Those with RA who do not engage in regular physical activity have a more pronounced effect from the disease.

Keegan Knittle, MSc, from Leiden University in The Netherlands and colleagues surveyed 106 patients with RA to evaluate physical activity, motivation and self-efficacy for physical activity, level of arthritis pain, and quality of life, for the current investigation. After six months, participants were surveyed again and asked to indicate the extent to which to which they achieved their baseline physical activity goal. Previous investigations have revealed that self-efficacy, described as one’s belief in his or her own capabilities to perform a specific behavior, is connected with raised physical activity participation among patients with RA.

75% of participants rated their physical activity goal achievement at 50% or more, results revealed. The likelihood that patients would achieve their goals increased with higher levels of self-efficacy for physical activity, and achieving goals had a direct positive effect upon quality of life outcomes. Those who achieved their physical activity goal reported less arthritis pain and greater quality of life, investigators discovered. Also no differences were discovered between men and women who completed the surveys, or between those newly diagnosed versus patients with RA for 10 years or more.

Knittle concluded:

“Our results suggest that an increased focus on self-efficacy enhancement, realistic goal-setting, and techniques that increase the likelihood of goal achievement will assist clinicians and researchers develop interventions that have a positive impact on pain reduction and quality of life outcomes for RA patients.”

Written by Grace Rattue

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