Comorbidities Worsen Fatigue in HIV-Positive Patients

Fatigue severity and symptom scores worsen with increasing numbers of comorbidities among HIV patients
By Pat F. Bass, M.D.
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Specific types of comorbidities and increasing numbers of comorbidities worsen fatigue severity and symptom scores in HIV/AIDS patients, and health care providers must be able to identify causes of fatigue to intervene more effectively, according to study findings published in the August issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Inge B. Corless, Ph.D., R.N., of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in Boston, and colleagues surveyed HIV-positive patients in 18 clinical settings and community-based organizations in Colombia, Norway, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and the United States to determine predictors and correlates of fatigue.

Among the 1,218 patients participating, the presence of comorbidities significantly increased fatigue scores, the researchers report. Depression and hepatitis B increased fatigue scores the most, while diabetes mellitus did not significantly increase fatigue scores. The study also found that as comorbidities increased, symptom severity increased as well. In addition, low income was associated with increased fatigue severity, the report indicates.

"The findings of this study indicate that fatigue is exacerbated in the presence of comorbidities and additional symptoms," the authors write. "Future studies need to differentiate fatigue as to its causes and patterns so that interventions for fatigue will be specific and thus more effective."

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