Background People with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have an increased risk of falls (1,2). The identification of predictive and potentially modifiable risk factors is essential for the development of effective falls prevention strategies (3).
Objectives The aim of the study is to determine the relationship between falling risk and falling fear with balance, lower extremity muscle strength, functional status, disease activity and pain in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Methods A total of 124 patients (92 females, 32 males) who were diagnosed with RA according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) diagnostic criteria were included in the study. The fear of falling was assessed by the Fall Efficacy Scale (FES-I) and the shortened form (Short FES-I). Disease activity was assessed using the Disease Activity Score-28 (DAS28), the functional status was assessed with Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). While lower extremity muscule strenght was determined using Chair Stand Test, Four Balance Test was used to determine the balance. The pain intensity was determined using 10 cm Visual Analogue Scale-Pain (VAS-pain).
Results The mean age of the patients is 54.75±10.96 years, the mean duration of illness is 14.10±10.99 years. A statistically significant relationship was found between FES-I, Short FES-I scores and HAQ (respectively r:0,776, p:0,000; r:0,783, p:0,000), VAS rest (r:0.397, p:0,000; r:0,405, p:0,000), VAS motion (r:0.542, p:0,000; r:0,519, p:0,000), DAS28 values (r:0.216, r:0.181; r:0,260, p:0,004). There was a significant negative correlation between FES-I, Short FES-I scores and Chair Stand Test (respectively r:-0.644, p:0,000; r:-0.652, p:0,00), Four Balance Test (r:-0.597, p:0,000; r:-0.611, p:0,00). There was a statistically significant correlation between the number of falls in the last year and age, duration of illness, HAQ, DAS28, VAS scores (p<0,05)
Conclusions The risk of falling and fear of falling is associated with balance, lower extremity muscle strength, disease activity, functional status, and pain in patients with RA. Therefore; the risk of falling and fear of falling should be determined and necessary measures must be taken in patients with RA.
Böhler C, Radner H, Ernst M, Binder A, Stamm T, Aletaha D, Smolen JS, Köller M. Rheumatoid arthritis and falls: the influence of disease activity. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2012 Nov;51(11):2051–7.
Armstrong C, Swarbrick CM, Pye SR, O'Neill TW. Occurrence and risk factors for falls in rheumatoid arthritis Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Nov;64(11):1602–4.
Stanmore EK, Oldham J, Skelton DA, O'Neill T, Pilling M, Campbell AJ, Todd C. Risk factors for falls in adults with rheumatoid arthritis: a prospective study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2013 Aug;65(8):1251–8.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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