April 19, 2021

Physical Activity Status and Quality of Life in Patients With Epilepsy – Survey From Level Four Epilepsy Monitoring Units

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy Research

Purpose: People with epilepsy (PWE) tend to have sedentary lifestyles which may predispose them to a lower perceived quality of life (QOL). Moreover, the relationship between physical activity (PA) and QOL in populations of PWE with high disease burden has been under-studied. The goal of this study was to evaluate PA level and its impact on health-related QOL in PWE who were admitted to Level-4 epilepsy monitoring units (EMU).

Methods: In this prospective observational study, 200 patients from two EMUs in Dallas, Texas completed the following standard surveys: Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity (RAPA), the Quality of Life in Epilepsy (QOLIE-31), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) questionnaire. Information on self-reported epilepsy history, severity of disease, and socioeconomic status were also collected. The diagnosis of epilepsy was confirmed by video-EEG monitoring.

Results: Among the 200 who completed the survey, 113 had a diagnosis of epilepsy and 109 of them completed the RAPA. Ninety-two (84 %) of these PWE reported a sedentary level of physical activity (RAPA < 6) and 16 % reported an active level (RAPA ? 6). Self-reported QOL was slightly higher in PWE with an active level of PA compared to PWE with a sedentary level of PA (63.8 ± 15.0 vs 53.7 ± 17.9, p = 0.07), even though there was no difference in the severity of self-reported mood symptoms. After controlling for employment and seizure frequency, physical activity level measured by RAPA score was also positively related to QOL (r = 0.39, p = 0.01) and negatively correlated with anxiety symptoms (r = -0.28, p = 0.02) and depression symptoms (r = -0.25, p = 0.04).

Conclusion: The majority of PWE in this survey reported sedentary lifestyles despite most of them being young to middle-aged adults. Higher PA level was associated with fewer self-reported mood symptoms and higher QOL. In conjunction with the literature, these results suggest that PWE with a wide range of disease burden should be encouraged to participate in regular exercise to potentially improve QOL.