Tai Chi May Stave Off CVD in Arthritis Patients
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 12:00 AM

Practicing tai chi significantly improved endothelial function and arterial stiffness in a trial involving older women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) reports a study.

“To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first evidence of a possible reduction of cardiovascular risk through tai chi exercise by improving endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness in patients with RA," wrote the study authors.

Tai chi was also associated with a significant improvement in total cholesterol, with a decrease of 7.8 mg/dL compared to an increase of 2.9 mg/dL in the control group.

Tai chi combines meditation with slow, gentle movements, deep breathing, and relaxation. The intensity of tai chi is equivalent to walking 6 km/hr, and moderately increases heart rate.

Recent studies have uncovered evidence of multiple benefits of tai chi for RA patients, including reduced disability and fatigue and positive effects on range of motion. A randomized controlled pilot study showed that tai chi reduced RA symptoms and disease activity, and improved quality of life.  However, the effect of tai chi exercise on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in RA had not been studied.

The tai chi group participated in a 60-minute group exercise session once a week for 3 months. The program focused on small to large degrees of motion, knee flexion, straight and extended head and trunk, combined rotation of head, neck and extremities, and symmetrical diagonal arm and leg movements. Movements could be adjusted to the functional and comfort level of the individual.

The control group received information about lifestyle modification, including smoking cessation and weight loss, and advice about appropriate regular exercise.

Source:  http://www.medpagetoday.com/Rheumatology/Arthritis/55549