February 26, 2009

Arthritis barrier to heart patient fitness

Arthritis, common among those having heart disease, may be a barrier for patients to getting needed physical activity, a U.S. government study says.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said adults with both heart disease and arthritis are significantly more likely to be physically inactive than those with heart disease alone.

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, said approximately 57 percent of adults with heart disease have arthritis.

In the study, about 29 percent of adults with arthritis and heart disease were inactive, compared to 21 percent of people with heart disease alone, 18 percent of those with arthritis and 11 percent of adults with neither condition.

Engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce arthritis pain and improve joint function, which in turn can help people with heart disease get more active and better manage both conditions, study co-author Dr. Chad Helmick said in a statement.

The researcher used data from the 2005 and 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

The findings also show that the prevalence of physical inactivity for adults with both heart disease and arthritis varied substantially from state to state -- ranging from 20.5 percent in Colorado to 50.3 percent in Kentucky.