Man suffering from fatigue

Fatigue in rheumatoid arthritis

Arthritis Research UK: Professor of Rheumatology Nursing, Sarah Hewlett, in UWE Bristol’s Centre for Health and Clinical Research (CHCR), leads an internationally recognised research group specialising in rheumatology.

Their work on the fatigue associated with rheumatoid arthritis has led to international consensus that fatigue must be measured in all clinical trials of rheumatoid arthritis treatments, putting it firmly on the international research agenda.

“This topic was brought up by patients themselves, during our early research to find out what outcomes were important for them. Patients considered fatigue to be an overwhelming problem that was ignored by health care teams, and that they could not manage alone.”

Professor Sarah Hewlett

With substantial support from Arthritis Research UK, Sarah’s research has sought to understand the nature of fatigue and its impact on patients, and to develop an accurate measurement tool for fatigue and its different dimensions. This has led to the development of successful interventions to help people manage this distressing symptom.

“New fatigue measurement tools have been developed which have been translated into 34 languages, and are in widespread use. We have also successfully tested a self-management programme based on cognitive behavioural therapy. We believe patients with other types of inflammatory arthritis would also benefit.”

The work of the UWE Bristol team, and its collaborators in North Bristol NHS Trust, University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, University of Bristol, and many others, has been recognised in many ways and more recently, through Sarah’s election as a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing in the UK.

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