People diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and are aged between 45-75 years are needed for a study into a new treatment for the disease.
The training is an exercise technique where people wear pressurised bands - much like blood pressure cuffs - to slow blood flow to muscles while they train. The cuff allows blood flow into the limb but delays its exit, which helps develop muscle strength without the need for heavy weights.
Exercise scientist, UniSA's Dr Hunter Bennett said the research hopes to identify interventions that could improve the quality of life for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
He said the disease is caused by the immune system attacking healthy tissues, which leads to pain and swelling, joint degradation, and a loss of muscle mass and strength. While medication may reduce the symptoms, they don't address the loss of muscle strength and function.
He said resistance training was the best way to increase strength and counteract muscle loss, but pain, fatigue, or risk of injury make this difficult for people with rheumatoid arthritis.
This new training method is used across many sporting and rehabilitation settings in Australia and is considered a safe and effective method for improving strength and function across many clinical populations, including people with osteoarthritis.
"As this technique uses very low loads, it's a viable option for people with rheumatoid arthritis. So, in our study, we're looking at how the training could increase people's strength, and hopefully increase their movement and overall wellbeing," Dr Bennett said.
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