-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
TUESDAY, June 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although some people with
fibromyalgia are sensitive to changes in temperature, sunshine and
precipitation, new research shows that weather conditions do not
affect the pain or fatigue associated with this chronic
"Our analyses provide more evidence against, than in support of, the daily influence of weather on fibromyalgia pain and fatigue," said study first author Ercolie Bossema from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
The study, published in the journal
Arthritis Care & Research, involved nearly 350 women
with fibromyalgia, a chronic syndrome that causes unexplained pain,
fatigue, headaches and sleep disturbances. The women were 47 years
old, on average, and had been diagnosed almost two years earlier.
They were asked about symptoms of pain and fatigue over the course
of 28 days, during which time the researchers also recorded weather
conditions, including outside temperature, sunshine duration,
precipitation, atmospheric pressure and relative humidity, as
reported by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute.
Changes in weather showed a significant but small effect on pain
or fatigue symptoms for 10 percent of cases. Significant, small
differences between patients' responses to weather also were found
in 20 percent of cases.
The researchers said differences among the women's response to
weather conditions did not appear linked to functional or mental
health status, demographics or seasonal or weather-related
In the United States, 5 million people have fibromyalgia, many
more of them women than men. Although the cause of this chronic
pain syndrome is unclear, previous studies have suggested some
people with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to certain stimuli. Up
to 92 percent of people with this condition report a worsening of
symptoms because of weather conditions.
"Previous research has investigated weather conditions and changes in fibromyalgia symptoms, but an association remains unclear," Bossema said in a journal news release.
The study's authors said future research on this issue should
include more patient characteristics, such as personality traits
and beliefs about chronic pain, in order to explain individual
differences in weather sensitivity.
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases provides more information on
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