For fatigue caused by the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis, there was as yet no proven effective treatment. This is urgently needed, because almost all sarcoidosis patients experience fatigue. It is often cited as the most distressing symptom of the disease. Sarcoidosis is a rare disease in which white blood cells accumulate spontaneously in various organs and tissues. The lungs are affected in 90 percent of patients.
From a new study, the results of which were published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, it now appears that an online form of therapy can offer relief. The behavioral therapy based on mindfulness significantly reduces fatigue.
Read also: What is Mindfulness? What can you use it for and where to start?
The study included 99 patients with sarcoidosis. They were randomly divided into two groups: 52 people followed the online cognitive behavioral therapy based on mindfulness and 47 people received normal care. The therapy consisted of a 12-week program in which patients reflected on their feelings of well-being, stress and fatigue in a diary. They were also asked to do mindfulness exercises for 30 minutes a day 6 days a week and to record their experiences. For example, patients wrote down when they felt tired, what they were thinking and feeling at that moment and how they reacted. Participants were supervised by psychologists from the Helen Dowling Institute, which specializes in the treatment of fatigue in cancer.
Compared to the no-therapy group, the patients who completed the program experienced significantly less fatigue afterwards. They also had less anxiety, stress and depressive symptoms. The improvements were still present 12 weeks after completion of therapy.
Reimbursed by health insurer
The researchers are excited. “Because the treatment is online, it is easily accessible to all patients, without having to cover a travel distance. In addition, the treatment is reimbursed by health insurance,” says pulmonologist in training Vivienne Kahlmann of Erasmus MC. She led the research together with fellow pulmonologist in training Karen Moor, under the supervision of pulmonologists Marlies Wijsenbeek from Erasmus MC and Marcel Veltkamp from St. Antonius Hospital.
By: National Care Guide