Arthritis sufferers need exercise
By Gillian Tsoi
Nearly half of people living with arthritis are not taking the necessary exercise that is vital in controlling the condition.
Research has revealed the 42% of people with arthritis lead an inactive lifestyle, which is unhelpful in managing the inflammatory disease.
Regular exercise is essential part of controlling the disease, but a new US study found that not only do patients with the condition abstain from exercise; half of them are unaware that it is vital in managing the disease.
As part of the study, a group of 176 patients were observed by scientists at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. The patients wore accelerometers, which are special devices that measure a person's acceleration and movement.
Researchers found that 53% of participants had no strong motivation to exercise, while 49% possessed no strong beliefs in the benefits of physical activity.
These two risk factors accounted for nearly 65% of excess inactivity among participants.
Publishing their findings in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, the study authors suggested that steps taken to motivate rheumatoid arthritis patients to do more exercise could benefit public health.
Dr Jungwha Lee, assistant professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, said: "While there is much evidence of the benefits of physical activity, rheumatoid arthritis patients are generally not physically active, and physicians often do not encourage regular physical activity in this patient population.
"Our results suggest that public health initiatives need to address the lack of motivation to exercise and promote the benefits of physical activity to reduce the prevalence of inactivity in those with rheumatoid arthritis."
A spokesperson for Arthritis Ireland said: "Regular exercise, along with keeping a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet, are an essential part of controlling the symptoms of arthritis and complement medical treatment. No matter how debilitated a person is by their condition, there is almost always some form of exercise that they can do, from walking to simple stretching, that will aid their treatment and improve their overall quality-of-life."
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causes stiffness, swelling and pain in the joints, which can severely impinge on the sufferer's quality of life.
Arthritis affects 1 in 5 people in Ireland - 915,000 people nationwide. There are over 100 different types of arthritis affecting people of all ages from infants to adults. Sixty percent of people with arthritis are aged under 65 years.
Almost 40,000 people have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis alone in Ireland.
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[Posted: Tue 31/01/2012]