Effects of home-based exercise program on the functional status and the quality of life in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: 1-year follow-up study
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We previously reported the efficacy of a 4-week home-based exercise therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In this study, we aimed to investigate whether short-term improvements in the functional status and quality of life were maintained at 1 year. Patients who completed 4-week home-based exercise program were advised to maintain the same exercises for 1 year duration. Changes of functional status and quality of life in patients with RA were evaluated by the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) and the Rheumatoid Arthritis Quality of Life Scale (RAQoL). The change of the variables at the different time points (baseline, 4 weeks, and 1 year) was assessed by the repeated measure of ANOVA test with Geisser-Greenhouse correction. Pairwise ANOVA comparisons adjusted using the Bonferroni correction were conducted. Twenty-eight (63.6%) of 44 patients were available for follow-up at 1 year. The results of repeated measure ANOVA showed that there was a statistically significant difference between three assessments in the HAQ (P = 0.015) and RAQoL (P = 0.037) scores at the end of the follow-up. Improvements in the functional status and health-related quality of life at 4 weeks were maintained at 1-year follow-up. In conclusion, we observed significant improvements in the functional status and health-related quality of life by 4-week home-based exercise program. Furthermore, these improvements were maintained at 1-year follow-up. Further studies are needed to confirm the usefulness of the home-based exercise therapy.