Public Release: 

Motivational text messages and counselling boost health of patients with RA

Reduced time spent sitting improves RA patient-reported clinical outcomes as well as their cholesterol levels

European League Against Rheumatism

London, United Kingdom, June 10, 2016: The results of a study presented today at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress (EULAR 2016) showed for the first time that a combination of text messages and individual counselling sessions to motivate patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) to be more active resulted in improved patient-reported clinical outcomes. This type of behavioural intervention was effective at reducing daily sitting time by an average of more than two hours in RA patients, and also reduced their cholesterol levels.

Due to their disease, patients with RA tend to be more sedentary than the general population, which can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. In Denmark, 67% of patients with RA do not meet public health recommendations for daily moderate and vigorous physical activity, and similar proportions of physically inactive RA patients are found in Germany (68%) and the United Kingdom (67%). Patients with RA already have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, partly caused by the chronic inflammatory rheumatic disease itself, and partly by traditional risk factors, such as hyperlipidaemia.2, ,

Although exercise is known to have a positive effect on pain and physical functioning in patients with RA, pain often acts as a barrier against maintenance of a physically active lifestyle. A more feasible approach for improving health and well-being in RA patients would therefore be to focus on reducing sedentary behaviour and increasing light intensity activity, rather than solely concentrating on increasing moderate and vigorous physical activity.

"We know that behavioural approaches are effective in reducing sedentary behaviour in healthy populations," , said Miss Tanja Thomsen of the Copenhagen Centre for Arthritis Research, Centre for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases, Rigshospitalet, Denmark. Our findings support the introduction of behavioural approaches as an effective way to improve the health of rheumatoid arthritis patients, which may also be applicable in other populations with chronic disease and limited mobility," Miss Thomsen added.

75 adult RA patients with a self-reported daily sitting time greater than five hours and Health Assessment Questionnaire score less than 2.5 underwent a 16-week individually tailored, behavioural intervention that included three individual motivational counselling sessions with a health professional and regular text messages aimed at improving motivation to reduce daily sitting time and replacing it with light intensity physical activity. A control group of 75 healthy adult patients matched for other characteristics was encouraged to maintain their usual lifestyle. Daily sitting time was recorded using a wearable activity monitor.

After 16 weeks, there was a significant between-group difference in average daily sitting time in favour of the intervention group of 2.20 hours per day (p<0.0001, with a mean decrease of 1.61 hours per day in the intervention group; an increase of 0.59 hours per day in controls). Secondary outcomes that were also in favour of the intervention group included self-assessment scores of pain, fatigue, physical function and blood measurements of total cholesterol.

Abstract Number: OP0286-HPR

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

For further information on this study, or to request an interview with the study lead, please do not hesitate to contact the EULAR congress

Press Office in the London Suite at ExCel London during EULAR 2016 or on:

Email: eularpressoffice@cohnwolfe.com

Onsite tel: +44 (0) 7725 915 492 / +44 (0) 7786 171 476

Twitter: @EULAR_Press

Youtube: Eular Pressoffice

About EULAR

The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is an umbrella organisation which represents scientific societies, health professional associations and organisations for people with Rheumatic Musculoskeletal Diseases (RMD) throughout Europe.

EULAR aims to promote, stimulate and support the research, prevention, and treatment of RMD and the rehabilitation of those it affects.

EULAR underlines the importance of combating rheumatic diseases not only by medical means, but also through a wider context of care for rheumatic patients and a thorough understanding of their social and other needs. EULAR is supported in this mission by its 45 scientific member societies, 36 PARE (People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe) organisations, 22 HPR (Health Professionals in Rheumatology) associations and 23 corporate members.

The EULAR Annual European Congress of Rheumatology is the foremost international medical meeting announcing the latest research on rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. EULAR 2016 is expected to attract over 14,000 delegates from around 120 countries. Most if not all professions working in the vast field of RMD will be represented.

To find out more about the activities of EULAR, visit: http://www.eular.org

References

1. EULAR 2016; London: Abstract OP0286-HPR

2. Thomsen T, Beyer N, Aadahl M, et al. Sedentary behaviour in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A qualitative study. Int J Qual Stud Health Well-being. 2015; 10: 10.3402/qhw.v10.28578

3. Sokka T, Hakkinen A, Kautiainen H, et al. Physical inactivity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: data from twenty-one countries in a cross-sectional, international study. Arthritis Rheum. 2008; 59(1): 42-50

4. John H, Toms TE, Kitas GD. Rheumatoid arthritis: is it a coronary heart disease equivalent? Curr Opin Cardiol. 2011; 26 (4): 327-33

5. Boers M, Nurmohamed MT, Doelman CJ, et al. Influence of glucocorticoids and disease activity on total and high density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2003; 62: 842-5

6. Esbensen BA, Thomsen T, Hetland ML. The efficacy of motivational counseling and SMS-reminders on daily sitting time in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials, 2015; 16 (1): 1

7. Gardiner PA, Eakin EG, Healy GN, Owen N. Feasibility of reducing older adults' sedentary time. Am J Prev Med. 2011; 41 (2): 174-7

8. Kozey-Keadle S, Libertine A, Staudenmayer J, Freedson P. The feasibility of reducing and measuring sedentary time among overweight, non-exercising office workers. J Obes. 2012; 16 2012: 282303

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