-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Young and middle-aged
fibromyalgia patients report worse symptoms and poorer quality of
life than older patients, a new study reveals.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by symptoms such as
musculoskeletal pain and tenderness, fatigue, and sleep and memory
problems. The disorder, which most often affects women, has no
known causes and few effective treatments.
The study included 978 fibromyalgia patients who were divided
into three age groups: 39 and younger, 50 to 59, and 60 and older.
The younger and middle-aged patients were more likely to be
employed, unmarried, smokers, have a higher education level and
lower body-mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat that takes
height and weight into account.
They were also more likely to have a history of abuse and to
have had fibromyalgia symptoms for a shorter length of time than
older patients, the study authors said.
"Among the three age groups of young, middle-aged and older, symptom severity and quality of life differs," study senior author Dr. Terry Oh, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a clinic news release.
The findings were surprising, because older people generally
have poorer quality of life and physical health than younger
people, Oh said.
The researcher noted that female fibromyalgia patients in all
three age groups 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.
The study was to be presented this week at the American College
of Rheumatology annual meeting, in San Diego.
In other Mayo studies presented at the meeting, researchers
found that about 7 percent of fibromyalgia patients have
inflammatory rheumatic conditions and that these patients don't
respond as well to treatment as those without rheumatic diseases,
and that fibromyalgia patients may also have skin-related symptoms
such as excessive sweating, burning and other sensations.
Because the studies were presented at a medical meeting, the
data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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