Fibromyalgia Symptoms May Mimic High Disease Activity in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Fibromyalgia Symptoms May Mimic High Disease Activity in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Results from a recent study presented at European League Against Rheumatism Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) showed that fibromyalgia symptoms may mimic high disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

In the study, researchers assessed a population of 122 RA patients. The patients’ diagnosis was confirmed with the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) / American College of Rheumatology (ACR) 2010 criteria.

To indentify patients with concurrent fibromyalgia the researchers used the ACR 1990 criteria, and all subjects were examined for swollen joint counts (SJC), tender joint counts (TJC), and tender point counts during a rheumatologist evaluation. The researchers also measured the Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP).

The team used a 100-mm VAS and the Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) to assess patients’ general health, and each subject’s functional status was assessed with the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ).

The results demonstrated that 24 RA patients met the ACR 1990 criteria for fibromyalgia, with 11 or more tender points. Moreover, the study also revealed that patients with fibromyalgia had higher scores of VAS, TJCs, CDAI DAS28, and HAQ.

The authors found that the majority of patients with fibromyalgia had high disease activity (DAS28 of 5.1 and high CDAI). However, SJC, ESR and CRP scores were similar between patients with fibromyalgia and patients with RA who did not have concurrent fibromyalgia.

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Both obesity and pain are considered serious public health concerns that can affect overall quality of life. A correlation between obesity and pain has been reported with pain complaints common among obese individuals and comorbid obesity known to be a common feature in chronic pain conditions.

Researchers at the University of Utah recently published a study entitled “The association between chronic pain and obesity” reviewing the link between these two conditions. The review appeared in the Journal of Pain Research.

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