Severe fatigue, decreased physical activity in patients with Addison’s disease
Dutch adults with primary adrenal insufficiency reported abnormal or severe fatigue, reduced physical activity and significantly reduced quality of life vs. healthy controls, according to recent survey results.
In a cross-sectional study, Eline S. van der Valk, MD, of Amphia Hospital in Breda, the Netherlands, and colleagues also found that patients with Addison’s disease reported physical activity levels that were significantly lower than those reported by other Dutch chronically ill patients.
“The clinical relevance of the impaired [quality of life] and increased fatigue found in our study is supported by the size of the differences in scores and the restriction in physical activity in patients with [Addison’s disease], an important activity in daily life,” the researchers wrote. “Physical inactivity could be very detrimental in [Addison’s disease] because the prevalence of other cardiovascular risk factors is already increased, and it has been demonstrated that patients with [Addison’s disease] have an up to twofold increased mortality rate from [CVDs].”
Researchers analyzed survey data from 328 Dutch adults with Addison’s disease on stable glucocorticoid replacement therapy with hydrocortisone or cortisone acetate (mean age, 53 years; 223 women; mean duration of disease after diagnosis, 15.6 years). Participants attended outpatient clinics at University Medical Center Utrecht and Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, or were members of the Dutch Association of Addison and Cushing Patients. They completed general and health-related quality of life (Short Form 36; Checklist Individual Strength) and physical activity questionnaires. Scores were compared with a random sample of 1,718 adults who completed a Dutch National Health Survey (controls).
Within the cohort, 53% of participants had isolated Addison’s disease; 74.1% received hydrocortisone therapy; 25.9% received cortisone acetate therapy; 87.2% received fludrocortisone therapy; and 23.2% received dehydroepiandrosterone replacement therapy.
Researchers found that 45.7% of participants with Addison’s disease met the standard of physical activity (Dutch standard of healthy physical exercise, defined as moderately intensive physical exercise for 30 minutes daily 5 days per week; “Fitnorm,” defined as 20 minutes of intensive physical exercise at least 3 days per week) vs. 67.8% of controls (P < .01). Researchers found 61% of participants with Addison’s disease reported abnormal fatigue, and 43% reported severe fatigue. Mean fatigue scores were significantly higher vs. controls (mean difference, 32.6; 95% CI, 24-41).
In both men and women with Addison’s disease, researchers found that quality of life scores in all component summaries were significantly decreased compared with controls, particularly in participants aged 65 years and younger. – by Regina Schaffer
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.