Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
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College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department
Alan C. W. Lee
Mary Lou Galantino
Publication Date / Copyright Date
Kerri Sowers. 2018. Impact of an Exercise Program on Stress, Fatigue, and Quality of Life for Individuals Living with Primary Immunodeficiency Disease. Doctoral dissertation. Nova Southeastern University. Retrieved from NSUWorks, College of Health Care Sciences - Physical Therapy Department. (63)
Background: There are over 300 Primary Immunodeficiency diseases (PID) that are a result of a genetic or idiopathic dysfunction of any aspect of the immune system. These conditions result in a higher frequency of infections, autoimmune conditions, or malignancies. Moderate intensity exercise is thought to help the immune system, while high intensity exercise may have a negative impact on immune function. The impact of exercise on individuals with an impaired immune system due to PID is not yet understood. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether a low to moderate intensity exercise program would have an effect on stress, fatigue, and quality of life (QoL) for individuals diagnosed with PID. Methods: 34 participants were included in this eight-week, mixed-methods, randomized controlled trial, either as part of the control group, or as part of the exercise intervention group. Participants completed pre- and post-study outcome measures, reflective journaling, and a post-study interview. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the groups for the outcome measures, infection incidence, or need for non-routine medical care. There was a clinically significant decline in the Physical Component Summary score of the SF-36v2 for the control group at the end of the study. The scores for the SF-36v2, for all participants, were below normative scores for all domains, at the beginning and end of the study. Four main themes emerged from the qualitative interviews: living with a ‘new normal’, the challenges of living with a chronic disease, facing the stigma of a chronic disease, and wanting to exercise, but were too exhausted to do so. Conclusions: Individuals with a diagnosis of PID have lower QoL scores as compared to population norms. They face high levels of stress, overwhelming fatigue, social isolation, and decreased emotional well-being. Exercise programs for this patient population did not result in increased infections or need for non-routine medical care but did result in emotional implications that need to be considered. Healthcare providers need to address emotional well-being and provide coping strategies. Exercise programs should be designed with a slow, methodical ramp-up to avoid increasing fatigue or stress, while exercise goals must be highly achievable and realistic. Physical therapists should collaborate with other healthcare professionals for a more holistic and interprofessional approach to working with patients with a diagnosis of PID.
Immunology and Infectious Disease | Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy
exercise, fatigue, health-related quality of life, identity, primary immunodeficiency disease, stress