Background: There is increasing knowledge of how individual lifestyle factors affect patients with spondyloarthritis, while studies exploring the combination of unhealthy lifestyle factors are lacking. Thus, our aim was to study the frequency of two or more unhealthy lifestyle factors and their associations with physical and mental health in patients with spondyloarthritis (SpA).
Methods: A population-based postal survey involving questions on lifestyle factors was completed by 1793 patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and undifferentiated spondyloarthritis (USpA). Self-reported physical activity, body mass index, and tobacco use were respectively dichotomized as "healthy" or "unhealthy", summarized for each patient and stratified into four groups (0-3; 0 = no unhealthy lifestyle factors). Group comparisons were performed with Chi-squared tests, and associations with physical and mental health outcomes were performed with analysis of covariance and logistic regression analysis.
Results: Out of 1426 patients (52% women) with complete information for all studied lifestyle factors, 43% reported ≥ two unhealthy lifestyle factors-more frequently patients with PsA (48%) than AS (39%) or USpA (38%)-and with no difference between women and men (p = 0.399). Two or more unhealthy lifestyle factors were associated with worse health-related quality of life, disease activity, physical function, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression, adjusted for age and SpA-subgroup. If an unhealthy level of physical activity was one of the two unhealthy lifestyle factors, patients reported worse health outcomes.
Conclusion: Reporting two or more unhealthy lifestyle factors were associated with worse physical and mental health in patients with SpA. This highlights the need to screen for a combination of unhealthy lifestyle factors and offer individualized coordinated interventions, and tailored coaching to support behavioral change, in order to promote sustainable health.
Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; Body mass index; Health-related quality of life; Overweight/obesity; Physical activity; Psoriatic arthritis; Smoking; Spondyloarthropathy; Tobacco.
© 2022. The Author(s).