Researchers have found that obesity worsens the quality of life of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) on four key levels including pain, fatigue, physical function and overall utility scores.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr Siri Lillegraven at Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo.
As part of the study, researchers examined 1041 obese patients and normal weight (NW) with RA using key areas of self-reported health status (HAQ, MHAQ, SF-36 and AIMS2) and visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain, fatigue and disease activity, and patients were grouped according to Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI was classified into normal weight, overweight and obesity. Underweight patients (BMI < 18) were excluded from the study.
Researchers grouped 541 patients in the normal weight category, 316 were considered overweight and 102 fell into the obese category. Overall, patient groups were compared using ANOVA and linear regression.
The study found that obese participants (OB) reported significantly increased ratings for pain and fatigue than normal weight (NW) participants. Obese patients also rated significantly worse physical functioning than normal weight patients.
The findings of the study were presented at EULAR 2007, the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology in Barcelona, Spain.