Fibromyalgia Symptoms More Severe in Obese Patients

Patients with fibromyalgia who are severely obese have more severe symptoms and lower quality of life (QOL), according to a study published in the February issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Chul-Hyun Kim, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and associates measured body mass index (BMI) to determine its association with symptom severity and QOL in 888 patients in a treatment program for fibromyalgia. Participants completed the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Short Form 36 (SF-36) health survey.

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The researchers found that 28.4 percent of patients were nonobese, 26.8 percent were overweight, 22.2 percent were moderately obese, and 22.6 percent were severely obese. Group differences were significant with respect to the number of tender points (P = 0.003) and the FIQ and SF-36 scores, after adjusting for age. For the group with the greater BMI, there were significantly worse FIQ total scores, and significantly worse scores in the FIQ subscales of physical fitness, work missed, job ability, pain, stiffness, and depression. Significantly poorer SF-36 scores were seen in these groups in physical functioning, pain index, general health perception, role emotional, and physical component summary. The differences were mainly in the severely obese group compared with the other groups.

“In patients with fibromyalgia, severe obesity (BMI ≥35.0 kg/m²) is associated with higher levels of fibromyalgia symptoms and lower levels of QOL,” the authors write.

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