Background It is well-known that patients with rheumatoid/undifferentiated arthritis (RA/UA) experience reduced functioning in daily tasks. Less is known about changes in physical activity over time and the association with disease related factors.
Objectives i) To evaluate changes in physical activity in patients with RA/UA over a 6 month period and ii) to determine the association between clinical/patient reported outcomes (PROs) and physical activity.
Methods 550 consecutive patients participating in the Rheumatoid Arthritis Medication Study (RAMS), which recruits patients with RA/UA starting MTX for the first time, were included. At baseline and 6 mo., patients were asked to compare, using a 5-point Likert Scale, their current physical activity with others their same age (much more to much less). The 5 categories were grouped into more, the same, or less physical activity. At baseline they were also asked how many days of the week (none to every day) they (i) exercised more than 20 minutes and (ii) performed exercise that made them sweat. Baseline and 6 mo. clinical/PRO variables included: DAS28, VAS physician, VAS general well-being, VAS pain, VAS fatigue and HAQ. Changes in scores over 6-mo. were calculated and EULAR response criteria were determined in a subgroup of patients with available DAS28 scores. Multinominal logistic regression analyses were applied to assess the association between change in clinical/PROs with a change in rating over 6 mo. on physical activity in comparison to others; more activity, less activity and no change.
Results Mean (SD) age was 60 (13) yrs; 70% were female. At baseline, 38% exercised for more than 20 minutes and 69% reported exercising until sweating on one day or less during the wk. Patients reported that they exercised less (55%), the same (26%) or more (19%) than other people their own age. After 6 mo., 15% reported more activity, 17% less activity and 68% no change compared to their baseline ranking. A good EULAR response was significantly associated with improvement in physical activity. Improvement of all PROs was also associated with an improvement in physical activity, whereas only worsening of VAS well-being, VAS fatigue and HAQ scores were associated with decreased physical activity over 6 mo.
Conclusions Improved physical activity was associated with better disease control supporting the idea of treat-to-target strategies to encourage healthy ageing in patients with RA/UA.
Disclosure of Interest None declared