- In patients with early and long-standing rheumatoid arthritis (RA), greater physical activity is associated with fewer cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors.
Why this matters
- RA is associated with excess risk for CVD partly because of traditional risk factors and partly because of systemic inflammation.
- Insufficient physical activity in RA contributes to CVD morbidity.
- Cross-sectional cohort of 121 patients with early (n=84) and long-standing (n=37) RA.
- Physical activity was assessed by a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor.
- Functional ability was assessed by the Health Assessment Questionnaire.
- Risk factors for CVD include blood lipid panel, sleeping heart rate, and body fat.
- Funding: Swedish Rheumatism Association; others.
- 37% with early and 43% with long-standing RA were not physically active according to the WHO's recommended levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity.
- Higher total physical activity was associated with the following factors, among others, according to multivariate regression adjusted for age, sex, disease duration, and activity monitor wear time:
- Lower body fat (P=.000).
- Higher functional ability (P=.001).
- Better systolic blood pressure (P=.006).
- Better diastolic blood pressure (P=.025).
- Greater time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity was associated with, according to multiple linear regression:
- Lower high-density lipoprotein (P=.011).
- Lower sleeping heart rate (P=.035).
- Cross-sectional, observational design.
- Small sample size.