Fatigue and its relationship with disease-related factors in patients with systemic sclerosis: A cross-sectional study


Abstract: Background/aim: Fatigue is very common symptom in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and adversely affects health-related quality of life and the ability to perform daily living activities. This study aimed to determine the severity of fatigue, and its related factors, in patients with SSc. Materials and methods: A total of 35 patients with SSc (6 males and 29 females, mean age of 50.71 ± 10.09 years) and 35 healthy control subjects (8 males and 27 females, mean age of 54.14 ± 9.51 years) were included in this study. The Fatigue Impact Scale for fatigue, Modified Medical Research Council Scale for dyspnea severity, 6-Minute Walking Test for functional capacity, Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index, Scleroderma Health Assessment Questionnaire and Short Form-36 Quality of Life Questionnaire for health-related quality of life were used in the evaluation of the subjects. Furthermore, pulmonary functions, diffusion capacity, and respiratory and peripheral muscle strength were evaluated. Results: Of the SSc patients, 80% experienced fatigue and presented with higher total and cognitive, physical, and psychosocial subscale fatigue scores than the healthy control subjects (P < 0.05). Moreover, the SSc patients exhibited significantly increased dyspnea severity, impaired pulmonary function-diffusion capacity, decreased respiratory-peripheral muscle strength, reduced functional capacity, and worsened health-related quality of life when compared to the control group (P < 0.05). Fatigue in the SSc group was significantly associated with age, dyspnea severity, diffusion capacity, respiratory and peripheral muscle strength, functional capacity, and healthrelated quality of life (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Along with the decrease in diffusion capacity, increase dyspnea, a decrease in both peripheral and respiratory muscle strength, and worsening functional capacity may have an effect on increased fatigue in SSc patients. Increased fatigue can also affect the life quality and daily life activities of a patient. Therefore, multidisciplinary approaches are recommended to evaluate and improve these parameters in the treatment of fatigue from the early period in SSc patients.

Keywords: Systemic sclerosis, fatigue severity, pulmonary function, respiratory muscle strength, health-related quality of life

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