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Obesity Linked with Greater Symptom Severity in Fibromyalgia
February 2012: People with the arthritis-related syndrome fibromyalgia appear to experience more severe symptoms if they are overweight or obese, new research reveals.
Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, US, studied a group of 888 people who were being treated for fibromyalgia - a common condition that involves widespread pain in the muscles and fatigue.
The study included 252 patients with a normal weight; 238 who were overweight; 197 who were moderately obese; and 201 who were severely obese (with a body mass index of 35 or higher).
Researchers found that patients with a high BMI tended to have worse fibromyalgia-related symptoms, poorer physical function, and greater levels of pain, stiffness and depression.
They were also more likely to take time off work and be less able to do their job effectively.
Publishing their findings in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, the study authors said: "In patients with fibromyalgia, severe obesity (BMI greater or equal to 35kg/m2) is associated with higher levels of fibromyalgia symptoms and lower levels of quality of life."
Dr Terry Oh, from Mayo Clinic's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, said the study is the first to look at distinct groups of obese fibromyalgia patients and determine how weight is linked with levels of symptoms and quality of life.
He revealed: "BMI has already been singled out as an independent risk factor for fibromyalgia. Our results underscore the importance of incorporating weight management strategies in treatment programmes for fibromyalgia patients."
An Arthritis Ireland spokesperson said: “Carrying excess weight is a common problem for people with arthritis as it increases stress on already inflamed joints. Regular exercise, such as walking, and eating a healthy, balanced diet complements medical treatment and is therefore an extremely important element of living with a condition, such as fibromyalgia.”
Arthritis affects 1 in 5 people in Ireland – 915,000 people nationwide. There are over 100 different types of arthritis and these can affect people of all ages from babies and toddlers right through to those in their adult years. 60% of people with arthritis are aged under 65 years old.
About Arthritis Ireland:
Little things can make a big difference to a person with arthritis. Difficulty with the little things like making a cup of tea, getting dressed or opening the front door can all add up to have a big impact on a person’s quality of life. At Arthritis Ireland we understand this. That is why we are Ireland’s only organisation working single-mindedly to transform the experience of people living with arthritis and those who care for them. Every day, we work in communities across the country providing community based education programmes to help people effectively manage and control this devastating disease. We actively drive grassroots advocacy so that the voice of people with arthritis is heard and understood and we work with the medical community to control and cure arthritis.
For further information please contact:
Communications Manager Arthritis Ireland
Ph: 01-6470203 or 086 7952034
Communications Executive Arthritis Ireland
Ph: 01-6470203 or 087 6245865
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