Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) don’t stop at joint pain and swelling. Most people with RA also experience mental and physical exhaustion, a symptom known as fatigue. Studies show that up to 80% of people with RA have at least some sense of feeling run down, and more than 50% have high levels of fatigue.
Terence Starz, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, says the feeling can be described as overwhelming or different from just being tired because it is extreme and seems to come from nowhere. In fact, fatigue may have a greater impact on daily life than pain.
Continue reading Fighting the Fatigue of RA
The fatigue that often accompanies rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be as distressing and disabling as the pain – and often harder to treat. RA-related fatigue has been associated with molecules called cytokines that promote inflammation, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and the use of biologics that block TNF have been shown to somewhat reduce fatigue. But a new study published online in the journal Rheumatology quantifies just how stubborn RA-related fatigue is – even when the disease itself is well controlled with an anti-TNF medication – and characterizes which patients are most likely to beat it.
Continue reading Study Shows Fatigue Persists in Some Cases Even When Rheumatoid Arthritis Is Controlled
The key to helping people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fight fatigue may be – literally and figuratively – a walk in the park, according to research presented at the 2015 American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting. Researchers from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found that modest exercise decreased fatigue and that a pedometer – plus a bit of guidance – helped increase the amount people exercised.
“Fatigue is one of the top-rated concerns; it has multiple sources and causes. We know from earlier studies that physical inactivity is associated with fatigue,” says lead study author Patricia Katz, PhD, a professor of medicine and health policy at UCSF. “We wanted an intervention that is simple, exportable and has few barriers to implementation.”
Katz and her team measured the activity level of 96 people with RA for one week, and had them fill out questionnaires. Then the participants were randomly divided into three groups. One group was educated on the need to be active. The second group was given a pedometer and a diary to record their daily steps. The third group got a pedometer, a step diary plus personalized daily step targets. The step targets were based on each person’s starting activity level and increased 10%every two weeks. Groups two and three also got phone calls every two weeks to collect the information from their step diaries.
Continue reading Can a Pedometer Help Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis-Related Fatigue?