I am so tired of being tired: – a focus group study of fatigue in RA
2011 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Background: Fatigue is a prominent symptom in RA and most negative impact from fatigue seems to be experienced by younger persons. Even in individuals with RA who are able to successfully participate in a wide spectrum of demanding daily activities, fatigue has been shown to be significant. The knowledge about how younger persons with RA experience and handle their fatigue is limited.Objectives: The aims were to explore, by means of qualitative interviews, how fatigue is experienced by persons with RA in working age and to identify when fatigue is experienced as a limitation and how it is handled in everyday life.Methods: Six focus group interviews were conducted with 25 (19 women, 6 men) persons. Inclusion criteria: >30 mm fatigue on a 100 mm visual analogue scale, age between 20-60 years and fulfill classification criteria of rheumatoid arthritis. The persons were asked to discuss their fatigue related to RA as well as how fatigue affected everyday life and how fatigue was handled. Transcripts were systematically analyzed by content analysis identifying units, codes, sub categories, categories and a theme (1). The categories and theme were validated by an expert in the field and by a research partner with RA.Results: Fatigue was experienced by the respondents as a significant symptom. Because of its persistence and unpredictable nature it caused feelings of frustration, helplessness and anger. The respondents expressed difficulties in communicating about the fatigue and to get understanding from the social environment including family, friends and healthcare. They were feeling limited in everyday life when the fatigue made it impossible to fulfill the roles as expected by themselves and by others. Feelings of shame, being lazy and boring were common. Finding balance between important parts of life such as work, family, leisure time, social activities and rest was mentioned as difficult. To handle the fatigue in everyday life planning and prioritizing among activities was essential. The respondents also used mental strategies to handle the fatigue including trying to accept the fatigue and focus on the possibilities.Conclusions: The result showed that fatigue in persons with RA in working age was a symptom of great importance that needs to be more highlighted in the clinical care. Even if the patients did not report extremely high levels of fatigue the consequences were extensive. An understanding of the complexity of fatigue in RA could help the persons to find a better balance between important parts in life.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-97493OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-97493DiVA: diva2:648003
EULAR 2011 London, United Kingdom 25-28 May 2011