This research investigated the relationships among the severity of inflammation, the extent of fatigue, and fatigue symptoms, and the relationship between fatigue and coping behavior in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Our study group consisted of 177 female patients with RA (105 women with CRP > 0.5 mg/dl and ESR > 30 mm/h (inflammatory group) and 72 women with CRP ≦ 0.5 and ESR ≦ 30 (noninflammatory group)) and 81 age-matched healthy women (control group) who were given self-assessment questionnaires. The extent of fatigue was higher in the inflammatory group than in the noninflammatory and control groups. The characteristics of fatigue symptoms in the inflammatory group were “decline in the strength to carry on the activities of daily life” and “difficulty in performing daily activity.” The patients in the inflammatory group adopted a technique of “reducing the burden on the body” as a pattern of coping behavior for reducing fatigue. The extent of fatigue and fatigue symptoms perceived by RA patients is strongly related to the severity of inflammation, and these patients adopt a coping behavior in response to the extent of fatigue and subjective symptoms.
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