Young people report worse fibromyalgia than older patients
It may seem counterintuitive, but young and middle-aged fibromyalgia patients report worse symptoms and poorer quality of life than older patients, a Mayo Clinic study shows. Fibromyalgia most often strikes women. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain with fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. The research, one of several Mayo studies being presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, suggests the disorder plays out differently among different age groups.
Researchers studied 978 fibromyalgia patients and divided them into three age groups: those 39 or younger, those 50 to 59, and those 60 or older. The younger and middle-aged patients were likelier to be employed, unmarried, and smokers and have a higher education level, lower body mass index, more abuse history, and a shorter duration of fibromyalgia symptoms than older patients.
“Among the three age groups of young, middle-aged, and older, symptom severity and quality of life differ,” says senior author Terry Oh, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The study’s findings were surprising because the quality of life and physical health are considered to be negatively associated with age, Dr. Oh says.
Dr. Oh notes that women in all three groups with fibromyalgia reported a lower quality of life than average U.S. women and that the difference between their physical health and that of the average woman was more significant than mental health differences, particularly in young patients.
In other studies, Mayo researchers found:
*Rheumatoid arthritis patient experiences and symptoms do not always reflect what medical literature shows when it comes to pain, morning stiffness, the relationship between swelling and damage, and what worsens or improves symptoms.
*Hospitalization is a significant risk factor for gout flares in people already diagnosed with gout.
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