New research reveals that fatigue in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension is linked to daily physical activity, which suggests interventions should target fatigue to improve activity levels.

The study, ”Physical Activity and Symptoms in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension,” set out to explore if fatigue, physical activity levels, and health-related quality of life were related in 15 women suffering from PAH. Their mean age was 50.5 years.

At the start of the study, scientists assessed the women’s severity of PAH and fatigue, and the participants performed a six-minute walk test (6MWT). They were then equipped with an accelerometer and instructed to keep an activity diary for seven days. On day 15 of the study, the women were assessed again and wore the accelerometer for another seven days.

Findings, published in the journal CHEST showed that the participants were sedentary 85% of the time, and performed low-level activities 10 percent of the time. There were no differences between measurements in the first and third week.

The researchers noted that less average daily activity was linked to the women’s reports of lower energy levels, but not to fatigue. Also, a low variability in day-to-day physical activity was associated with mental and physical fatigue as well as lower total activity levels. A low proportion of bouts of activity was also linked to low energy levels. In contrast, quality of life or severity of disease were not linked to daily activity counts.

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