Reduced muscle strength 'predicts functional declines in lupus patients'

20:00 EDT 4 Aug 2015 | Arthritis Research UK

Monitoring changes in muscle strength in the legs can help predict declines in physical function among women with lupus.

This is according to a new study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, which aimed to examine whether reduced upper and lower extremity muscle strength (ie in the arms and legs) could be used to forecast functional outcomes among adult women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

A total of 146 women participated in the study, with assessments of muscle strength carried out during in-person research visits approximately two years apart. Upper extremity muscle strength was assessed by grip strength, while lower extremity muscle strength was evaluated by looking at peak knee torque levels during extension and flexion.

Physical function, meanwhile, was assessed using a test called the Short Physical Performance Battery, with other considered factors including age, disease duration and activity, physical activity levels, prednisone use, body composition and depression trends.

According to results published in the medical journal Arthritis Care & Research, lower extremity muscle strength was shown to strongly predict changes in physical function over two years, even when controlling for other factors.

The association of reduced lower extremity muscle strength with reduced physical function in the future was greatest among the subjects with the lowest levels of strength.

The researchers concluded: "Reduced lower extremity muscle strength predicted clinically significant declines in physical function, especially among the weakest women. Future studies should test whether therapies that promote preservation of lower extremity muscle strength may prevent declines in function among women with SLE."

Original Article: Reduced muscle strength 'predicts functional declines in lupus patients'


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