The prevalence of fibromyalgia (FM) may increase with age, according to results obtained in a study with Turkish patients. The study shows that elderly adults with fibromyalgia experience poor quality of life in terms of pain, sleep, social, and emotional functions.
The study, “Prevalence Of Fibromyalgia In Turkish Geriatric Population And Its Impact On Quality Of Life,” was published in the Turkish journal Agri Pain.
Most studies on fibromyalgia include young or middle-aged patients, mostly women, but little is known about the prevalence and impact of fibromyalgia amon the elderly.
Researchers followed 100 patients ages 65 to 80 who were divided into two groups, FM and non-FM, according to diagnostic criteria of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).
Researchers analyzed several parameters, such as the tender point count (TPC), common symptoms, disease severity (using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, or FIQ), quality of life (using the Nottingham Health Profile, or NHP) and pain severity (measured with the Visual Analog Scale, or VAS).
Of the 100 patients, 31 were included in the FM group and 69 composed the non-FM group.
Fibromyalgia patients presented significantly higher scores in pain, sleep, social isolation, and emotional reactions in the quality of life score compared to the non-FM group. No difference was found in terms of gender on the TPC and disease severity measures, but these parameters were reduced with increasing age — the older the patient, the worse the result.
Results also indicated that disease severity and TPC were linked to pain and emotional reactions as tested in the quality of life score. However, no correlation was found between disease severity and TPC and the patients’ physical mobility, sleep, energy, and social isolation.
Together, the results indicated that not only the prevalence of fibromyalgia increases with aging, but the disease also brings poor quality of life to these patients.
“Although FM is thought to be a disease seen among young and middle-aged women, its prevalence increases with age,” researchers wrote. “Accompanying osteoarthritis in elderly patients may cause delay in the diagnosis of FM and as well as its treatment. In case of severe pain which is incompatible with the clinical and radiological findings, diagnosis of FM should be taken into account.”