Exercise and joint health in rheumatoid arthritis

Law, Rebecca-Jane (2012) Exercise and joint health in rheumatoid arthritis. PhD thesis, Prifysgol Bangor University.

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The benefits of exercise for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are now well-established. However, RA patients are less active than the general population. This may result from previous negative views surrounding the effects of exercise on joint health and limitations in current empirical evidence. The aims of this thesis were to explore patient perceptions relating to exercise and joint health, alongside determining the physiological effects of acute exercise and exercise training on novel markers of joint health. Firstly, focus group methodology was used to collect qualitative data, offering a preliminary description of patient perceptions. This data was then used to develop a questionnaire which was distributed to a large population of RA patients. Patients showed an awareness that exercise was beneficial, but were concerned about joint health, how they should exercise and perceived uncertainty amongst health professionals. The factorial validity of the new measure was established and the quantitative data confirmed findings on a larger scale. To enhance the information available to health professionals, and consequently RA patients, the second part of the thesis explored the effects of exercise per se on joint health. Intensive aerobic and resistance exercise showed no acute effect on absolute serum cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, C-reactive protein and minor effects on synovial inflammation (as assessed by colour fraction using colour Doppler ultrasound). The third part of the thesis investigated the effects of continued intensive training on these outcome variables. Following an eight-week aerobic and resistance exercise training intervention, improvements in aerobic fitness and strength were demonstrated, with no detrimental effects on joint health. Overall, it is anticipated that the findings from this series of studies will provide further information for health professionals when prescribing exercise and help to alleviate the fears of patients. This may well help to increase exercise participation in this population.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: Degree Thesis
Departments: College of Health and Behavioural Sciences > School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences
Degree Thesis
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2015 10:36
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 11:28
URI: http://e.bangor.ac.uk/id/eprint/5148
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