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Exercise program improves symptoms in arthritis patients
Date:1/4/2008

Patients with arthritis, the countrys leading cause of disability, tend to be less fit than their peers who dont have this condition. Studies have shown, however, that they can safely participate in exercise programs to increase their fitness, strength and psychosocial status and that health providers recommend that arthritis patients participate in exercise. A new study published in the January issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritiscare) evaluated the effects of the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, formerly called People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE) to promote managing arthritis through exercise. Although pilot studies had shown that the program led to improvements for arthritis patients, this was the first randomized controlled trial to evaluate the program.

Led by Leigh F. Callahan, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, the study involved 346 patients with an average age of 70 who had self-reported arthritis. The participants were divided into an intervention group that took part in the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, which consisted of exercise classes at basic and advanced levels that met twice a week for one hour for 8 weeks and a control group that was offered the program after 8 weeks. The intervention group also completed self-report assessments 3 and 6 months after completing the program. Pain, stiffness and fatigue were measured using visual analog scales, which are tools that help patients rate the intensity of sensations such as pain. Physical function was evaluated by using self-reporting as well as performance-based measures such as lifting weights, and psychosocial outcomes were assessed using four different scales.

The results showed that the intervention group had significant improvements in pain, fatigue, and managing arthritis at 8 weeks and maintained improvements in pa
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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