Background Fatigue, pain, stiffness, impaired muscle function and impaired physical function are some of the most pronounced symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and these may be related to lifestyle habits such as physical activity, diet, smoking and alcohol.
There is limited knowledge about how patient with longstanding RA understand their lifestyles habits in relation to their disease and quality of life.
Objectives To describe experiences of how lifestyle habits relate to quality of life in patients with longstanding RA.
Methods A qualitative study with a deductive content analysis design, including 17 patients from the Swedish BARFOT (Better Anti-Rheumatic FarmacoTherapy) cohort. BARFOT is a long time follow up study of early RA. Informants were strategically selected by gender (ten women and seven men), age (range 30-84 years), disease duration (8-23 years), function as measured by HAQ, and quality of life as measured by EQ5D. Semi-structured interviews focused on four lifestyle habits (main categories); Physical activity, Diet, Smoking, and Alcohol. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and coded into subcategories within each of the four main categories.
Results In patients with longstanding RA quality of life was related to the four given main categories (lifestyle habits). Each main category included two to three subcategories; (1) Physical activity means barrier, opportunities and well-being, (2) Diet means shame, well-being and social relationship, (3) Smoking means reward and fear, and (4) Alcohol means ambivalence and social relationship.
Conclusions In longstanding RA, lifestyle habits relates to quality of life through both positive and negative experiences. This has to be taken into account in clinical care for a better understanding of how patients conceive and adherer to advice on lifestyle.
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Disclosure of Interest None declared