Researchers discovered that lower levels of physical activity and fitness can influence the risk and severity of comorbidities among patients with moderate to severe hemophilia, according to a study published in Haemophilia.

Over the last few years, the life expectancy of patients with hemophilia has increased, meaning that the percentage of aging adults with the disease has grown. The challenge now is to adequately identify at-risk patients and introduce necessary interventions early.

A longer lifespan for patients with hemophilia means more opportunities for repetitive joint bleeding and chronic arthropathy. These symptoms limit the ability of patients to participate in physical activity and fitness. 


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“Physical inactivity is associated with accelerated physiological aging and is amongst the leading risk factors for all-cause mortality, cardiometabolic diseases, and certain types of cancer,” the authors of the study wrote. 

They hence decided to study the extent to which levels of physical activity and fitness can influence the severity and risk of comorbidities among patients with moderate to severe hemophilia. For this study, they recruited male volunteers with hemophilia A or B. Participants were asked to conduct and monitor their physical activity. In addition, the participants underwent cardiometabolic risk parameter, body composition, and blood pressure measurements. 

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The results demonstrated that patients with moderate to severe hemophilia were significantly less physically active than other groups. This suggests that physical pain and limited exercise tolerance remain pertinent issues among this patient group. 

Furthermore, studies indicate that patients with moderate to severe hemophilia had poorer insulin control than controls. This echoes the studies previously conducted by other researchers that indicate a higher rate of hypertension among patients with hemophilia than in the general population. 

“Barriers to [physical activity] should additionally be explored in order to optimize such interventions,” the authors of the study concluded.

Reference

Kennedy M, Roche S, McGowan M, et al; iPATH study group. Physical activity, physical fitness and cardiometabolic risk amongst adults with moderate and severe haemophiliaHaemophilia. Published online October 4, 2022. doi:10.1111/hae.14653