Factors associated with functional disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatol Int. 2008 Dec;29(2):163-6. doi: 10.1007/s00296-008-0661-1. Epub 2008 Aug 12.


To determine factors associated with functional disability in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A total of 100 RA patients were reviewed retrospectively. Multiple regression analysis was used to investigate associations between the dependent variable (health assessment questionnaire) and independent variables (age, disease duration, hand grip strength values, VAS and DAS-28 scores). Main factors associated with functional disability were disease activity score as reflected in a high score on the DAS-28 (r=0.68, p<0.001) and disease duration (r=0.23, p<0.05). Increased age, decreased grip strength and high pain level were associated with lower functional ability, but none of these was a predictor of disability in the regression model. The results indicate that age, disease duration, disease activity, pain intensity and hand grip strength are related to physical disability in patients with RA. However, only disease activity has an impact on physical function. Thus, treatment of RA patients should focus on early inhibition of disease activity in order to achieve a good functional outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Hand Strength
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Joints / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Pain Measurement
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult