Text messages motivate patients with rheumatoid arthritis

London, June 13 (IANS) A combination of text messages and individual counselling sessions help motivate patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), resulting in improved patient-reported clinical outcomes, finds a study.

“The findings support the introduction of behavioural approaches as an effective way to improve the health of rheumatoid arthritis patients which may also be applicable in other populations with chronic disease and limited mobility,” said Tanja Thomsen from the Copenhagen Centre for Arthritis Research in Denmark.

According to the researchers, RA patients tend to be more sedentary than the general population that can have serious health consequences, including an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death.

In the study, 75 adult RA patients underwent a 16-week intervention that included three individual motivational counselling sessions with a health professional and regular text messages aimed at improving motivation to reduce daily sitting time and replacing it with light intensity physical activity.

A control group of 75 healthy adult patients matched for other characteristics was encouraged to maintain their usual lifestyle. Daily sitting time was recorded using a wearable activity monitor.

The researchers found that after 16 weeks, there was a significant between-group difference in average daily sitting time in favour of the intervention group.

Secondary outcomes that were also in favour of the intervention group included self-assessment scores of pain, fatigue, physical function and blood measurements of total cholesterol.

The study was recently presented at the European League Against Rheumatism Annual Congress 2016 in London.

–IANS

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