Evaluating associations of joint swelling, joint stiffness and joint pain with physical activity in first-degree relatives of patients with rheumatoid arthritis: Studies of the Aetiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis (SERA), a prospective cohort study

Jan M. Hughes-Austin, Joachim H. Ix, Samuel R. Ward, Michael H. Weisman, James R. Odell, Ted R. Mikuls, Jane H. Buckner, Peter K. Gregersen, Richard M. Keating, M. Kristen Demoruelle, Kevin D. Deane, V. Michael Holers, Jill M. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective Physical activity (PA) in preclinical rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with lower RA risk and disease severity. As joint signs and symptoms of inflammatory arthritis serve as a barrier to PA in RA, it is important to consider whether they affect PA in the time prior to RA. Therefore, we investigated whether joint swelling, stiffness or pain were associated with PA in first-degree relatives (FDRs) of patients with RA, a population at higher risk for future RA. Design Prospective study design. Setting We recruited FDRs of patients with RA from academic centres, Veterans' hospitals and rheumatology clinics or through responses to advertising from six sites across the USA. Participants We evaluated associations of joint stiffness, joint swelling and joint pain with PA time in 268 FDRs with ≥2 visits over an average 1.2 years. Clinicians confirmed joint swelling. Participants self-reported joint stiffness and/or pain. Primary outcome measures PA during a typical 24-hour day was quantified via questionnaire, weighted to reflect metabolic expenditure, where 24 hours was the minimum PA time. Linear mixed models evaluated associations between symptoms and change in PA over time, adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, smoking and RA-related autoantibodies. Results Average weighted PA time was 37±7 hours. In the cross-sectional analysis, PA time was 1.3±0.9 hours higher in FDRs reporting joint pain (p=0.15); and 0.8±1.6 and 0.4±1 hours lower in FDRs with joint swelling (p=0.60) and stiffness (p=0.69), respectively. Longitudinally, adjusting for baseline PA time, baseline symptoms were not significantly associated with changes in PA time. However, on average over time, joint stiffness and pain were associated with lower PA time (p interaction =0.0002, p interaction =0.002), and joint swelling was associated with higher PA time (p interaction <0.0001). Conclusion Baseline symptoms did not predict future PA time, but on average over time, joint symptoms influenced PA time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere050883
JournalBMJ open
Volume11
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 14 2021

Keywords

  • epidemiology
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • rheumatology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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