The excess risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is partly attributable to traditional cardiovascular risk factors for CVD¹ and systemic inflammation,1, 2 factors known to be modified by physical activity.3, 4
The aim of this cross-sectional study was to objectively measure and compare the level of physical activity in patients with early and long-standing RA, and to analyse possible associations with disease activity, risk factors for CVD and measures of subclinical atherosclerosis.
This study included 84 patients with early and 37 with long-standing RA (disease duration, mean [SD] 1.4 [0.4] and 16.3 [2.3] years respectively). Physical activity was measured using a combined accelerometer and heart rate monitor and included total physical activity (counts/min), proportion of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time. Further assessments were; disease activity (ESR, DAS28), functional ability (HAQ), risk factors for CVD (blood lipids, i.e., triglycerides, high density lipoprotein [HDL], low density protein [LDL], blood glucose, blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index [BMI]), body fat (Dual-energy X-ray), and early signs of atherosclerosis (pulse wave velocity [PWV], augmentation index [AIx] and carotid intima-media thickness [cIMT]).
Physical activity variables did not differ between patients with early and long-standing RA. Thirty-seven% of the patients with early and 43% of the patients with long-standing RA did not reach WHOs recommended levels of MVPA. Univariate linear regression analyses with the two groups combined, showed associations between total physical activity and younger age, lower values for HAQ and disease activity (ESR), as well as more beneficial values for blood glucose, triglycerides, waist circumference, BMI, body fat, sleeping heart rate (SHR), systolic, diastolic and central blood pressure and pulse pressure, Aix, PWV, and cIMT. More time spent in MVPA was associated with younger age and with favourable values of blood glucose, HDL, LDL, waist circumference, SHR and PWV. View this table:
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Abstract AB0257 – Table 1 Physical activity variables in patients with early and long-standing RA, presented as median with inter-quartile range (IQR). P-value refers to Mann-Whitney U-test.
Physical activity behaviour was similar in patients with early and long-standing RA. Total physical activity as well as more time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity were associated with more favourable risk factors for CVD and measures of atherosclerosis. These results stress the importance of promoting physical activity in patients with RA.
 Crowson CS, et al. Annals of the rheumatic diseases2018;77(1):48–54.  Wallberg-Jonsson S, et al. The Journal of rheumatology1999;26(12):2562–71.
 Stavropoulos-Kalinoglou A, et al. Annals of the rheumatic diseases2013;72(11):1819–25.
 Metsios GS, et al. Annals of the rheumatic diseases2014;73(4):748–51.
Disclosure of Interest