Background Exercise is a commonly used treatment for patients with spondyloarthritis (SpA) but younger women reach WHOs recommended level of physical activity (PA) to a less extent than peers in the general population (Haglund, 2012).
Objectives To study if self-reported disease characteristics in patients with SpA can explain why younger women are less physically active than older women with the disease.
Methods In a cross-sectional population based cohort study in southern Sweden, 1121 women (51.7% of the total SpAScania cohort) were identified by a health care register and responded to a questionnaire survey in 2009. The primary outcome was self-reported level of physical activity (PA) based on the WHOs recommendation. Self-reported pain (VAS), global health (VASglobal, BASG),health related quality of life (EQ-5D), disease activity (BASDAI), physical function (BASFI), self-efficacy pain and symptoms (ASES), anxiety (HADa), depression (HADd), education level, smoking habits and reported severity of the skin disease psoriasis (NRS) were reported. Younger (≤35 years of age, n=127) and older women (>35, n=994) and the disease subgroups AS/USpA (n=441) and PsA (n=680) were compared with regard to characteristic symptoms. T-test and chi-square test was used to analyze group differences, exact p-values are reported.
Results Out of the 1121 women in the cohort, 1094 answered the questions concerning PA. There were no significant differences between younger/older women with AS/USpA reaching recommended level of PA (71% vs. 77%, p=0.23). In younger women with PsA there was a trend to not reaching the recommended level of PA to the same extent (58% vs. 70%, p=0.06).
When comparing younger and older women concerning characteristic variables, there were significant worse self-reported VASglobal (3.9 vs. 4.5, p=0.004), BASDAI (4.2 vs 4.8, p=0.008), BASFI (2.4 vs. 3.8, p<0.001), BASG (3.6 vs. 4.4, p=0.001), ASES pain (53 vs. 49, p=0.02), ASES symptom (59 vs. 55, p=0.04) and HAD depression (3.7 vs. 4.6, p=0.04) in the older women.
When stratified on the disease subgroups, VASglobal (3.8 vs. 4.3, p=0.05) and BASFI (2.6 vs. 3.6, p=0.002) were significantly worse for older women with AS/USpA (n=372) compared to the younger group (n=69). Older women with PsA (n=622) reported significantly worse VASpain (3.9 vs. 4.7, p=0.02), BASFI (2.2 vs. 3.9, p<0.001), BASG (3.5 vs. 4.5, p=0.004), ASES pain (54 vs. 57, p=0.01) and symptom (61 vs. 53, p=0.01), HAD depression (3.8 vs. 4.7, p=0.04) compared to the younger group (n=58). There was an inverse relationship regarding severity of psoriasis, were younger women with PsA have a tendency to report a more severe skin disease (3.9 vs. 3.2, p=0.09). When comparing characteristics for young women reaching or not reaching healthy PA, no differences were found.
Conclusions Young women with SpA do not reach recommended level of PA in the same extend as in the population. There were no explanations found when comparing common self-reported variables in younger and older women with SpA in a defined cohort. The relationship needs to be studied further also from a qualitative aspect.
Haglund, E., S. Bergman, et al. (2012). Differences in physical activity patterns in patients with spondylarthritis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 64(12): 1886-1894.
Disclosure of Interest None declared