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Lupus, Fatigue and Physical exercise by Katherine Wheeler (Belgium)

The presentation that Mrs Wheeler shared, was based on the following topics: Lupus, Fatigue and a study on Physical exercise that was done on that in the Belgium group.

In January 2012 the association made a donation to the Royal Belgian Rheumatology Society (SRBR), a project with a direct impact on the care of lupus patients and on their quality of life. The study “Lupus, fatigue and physical exercise” was led by Professor Houssiau (rheumatologist).

The main objectives of the study were associated with the fact that fatigue is a major complaint for people with lupus, even if their lupus is inactive; physical exercise is recommended for lupus patients and for other inflammatory pathologies. Physical exercise has also proven its efficacy, not only for cardiovascular risk, but also for fatigue. The participants were evaluated three times in total: before starting, after twelve weeks and in nine months’ time, which was the official end of the study.

The main conclusions that the group reached were that exercise is essential to combat fatigue. Psychological fatigue is replaced by (positive) physical fatigue. However, three months is too short to see an improvement in cardiovascular performance. There is no major difference between patients who exercise at home and those supervised at a clinic (probably because compliance was the same in both groups). And last but not least, people who exercise more regularly see improvements from their efforts.