Physical Activity Levels Low Among Hemophilia Patients in Japan , Study Finds

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by Alice Melão |

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physical activity and hemophilia

More than half of people with hemophilia in Japan fail to take part in sports or other physical activities at levels thought necessary to maintaining good health,  a study reports.

New strategies for education, support, and guidance are needed to promote better physical activity among this population, it recommended

The study, “Physical activity and its related factors in Japanese people with Haemophilia,” was published in the journal Haemophilia.

A sedentary lifestyle is widely recognized as the most common risk factor for life-threatening conditions like cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Until the early 1970s, people with hemophilia were advised to refrain from sports due to the increased risk of bleedings. Although aimed at protecting these patients, these guidelines contributed to rising obesity rates, and joint and muscle problems, the researchers said.

With the development of new, more efficient therapies for hemophilia, the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) now recommends physical activity as a way to improve patients’ quality of life.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan assessed the levels of physical activity among 106 adults with hemophilia (mean age, 40.8) being treated at seven clinical centers across the country.

Participants were asked to answer to International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SV), which included questions about their daily activities, participation in sports, and experience in receiving guidance in sports.

About 59.4% of respondents reported low levels of activity, and 12.3% high levels.

Older hemophilia patients, particularly, were found to be significantly less active than younger patients. Still, researchers did not find any association between patients’ physical activity levels and their disease severity, prophylaxis therapies, annual intra‐articular bleeding frequency, body mass index (BMI), or activities of daily living.

“Regarding sports, 50 PwH [person with hemophilia] (47.2% of respondents) participated in some kind of sports in the past year; of them, nine (8.5%) regularly played some kind of sports,” the researchers said.

A total of 57 participants (53.8%) reported to have received guidance in sports, and 84 (79.2%) experienced bleeding while playing sports. Patients who received guidance in sports were significantly younger than those who did not receive guidance in sports.

“Many subjects answered that participation in activities and attempting to play sports, such as swimming, walking and cycling, was based on the recommendations for people with hemophilia by the WFH and the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF),” the researchers wrote.

But study findings showed physical activity levels  among this patient group in Japan significantly lower than that recommended by the WHO, they added.

The researchers believe that this discrepancy is largely due to a lack of guidance in sport participation. So, “appropriate guidance in sports for elderly individuals, and those with decreased activities of daily living is necessary to improve self‐efficacy and physical activity level,” they advised.