We investigated the effects of individualised combined resistance and aerobic exercise on microvascular and macrovascular function in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients.
Forty age-matched, gender-matched and body mass index (BMI)-matched patients were allocated to either an exercise group, receiving a 6 months tailored aerobic and resistance exercise intervention, or controls receiving only information about the benefits of exercise. Participants were assessed for microvascular (acetylcholine (Ach) and sodium nitroprusside (SNP)) and macrovascular (flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) and glyceryl trinitrate (GTN)) endothelial function, maximal oxygen uptake, disease activity and severity (C-reactive protein (CRP), disease activity score 28 and health assessment questionnaire). Data were collected at baseline, 3 months and at the end of the intervention (6 months).
At baseline, demographic, anthropometric, disease-related characteristics and endothelial function parameters were similar between the exercise and control groups (p>0.05). Repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant improvement in endothelial function parameters at 3 (GTN: p