Background Recent studies have revealed that patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) also have a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) than the general population (Mathieu et al, 2011) and physical activity (PA) is recommended to prevent CVD in healthy adults (Haskell et al, 2007). It has been reported that stretching, back exercise and walking are the most common exercise activities in patients with AS, but the total physical activity level in this group has not earlier been investigated.
Objectives To compare PA in everyday life in patients with AS with high and low disease activity, and to compare both groups with population controls.
Methods In a cross sectional study, PA level was measured with the self-administered International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Long. The AS Disease Activity Score (ASDAS) was used to assess disease activity in the patients group and a cut-off at <2.1 were set to differentiate between low and high disease activity.
Results 149 AS patients (mean age 49.3 (sd 11.1), 61% men, 54% with high disease activity), and 133 population controls (mean age 52.7 (sd 11.3), 58% men) were included. AS patients with high disease activity, had lower total energy expenditure, and lower energy expenditure in vigorous PA and walking PA than both patients with low disease activity and controls.
Fewer patients with high disease activity met the international recommendation for health enhancing physical activity (HEPA) compared to patients with low disease activity (41% vs 61%, resectivly, p=0.02). Among controls 48% reached HEPA. There were no significant differences between patients with low disease activity and controls, in energy expenditure and proportion reaching HEPA.
Conclusions AS patients with high disease activity had lower energy expenditure in PA in everyday life and reached HEPA to a lower extend than patients with low disease activity and controls. The results suggest that a decreased physical activity level among patients with high disease activity also might play a role for the increased CVD risk in this group. Thus, these patients should be given special attention regarding physical activity.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared