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Background and Objective: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a rare connective tissue disease associated with a multisystem auto-immune involvement. Sarcopenia is a problem in musculoskeletal system effected to decrease muscle strength and endurance and reduce physical performance. The purpose of this study was to report normal values of physical performance in Thai systemic sclerosis patients.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in adult SSc patients who were followed-up at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, Thailand between July 2019 and April 2020. The variables including, age, gender, diagnosis and physical performance were assessed. Descriptive analysis was used to determine baseline characteristics mean and standard deviation.
Results: A total of 180 SSc patients were enrolled, of which were women 116 cases (66.4%). The majority of cases were diffuse cutaneous SSc (dcSSc) subset (112 cases; 62.2%). The mean age in men was 59.9 ± 8.1 and women was 57.8 ± 10.1 years. The respective mean physical performance in men and women including, grip strength was 24.4 ± 7.5 and 15.3 ± 5.5 kg, functional lower extremity strength was 9.9 ± 2.7 and 11.9 ± 3.9 sec, gait speed was 1.6 ± 0.3 and 1.3 ± 0.3 m/secs and flexibility was -0.7 ± 8.9 and 6.4 ± 8.3 cm.
Conclusion: The SSc patients have similar physical performance in the elderly, while patients with severe symptom have lower physical performance than less severe symptom. Because of no healthy control comparison, we cannot provide whether physical performance in SSc is different from healthy control with age and sex match or not. However, the normal values of physical performance in this study may use as an initial information for multidisciplinary approach of an early follow up of functional impairment and planning for further rehabilitation.
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