Prevalence of Fibromyalgia Increases with Age, Linked to Poor Quality of Life, Study Says

Prevalence of Fibromyalgia Increases with Age, Linked to Poor Quality of Life, Study Says

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.”

6 comments

  1. StevefromMA says:

    Would have been good to partial out the date of onset and number of years with FM and examine progression of the disorder.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Yes, that would have been a good data set. However, as we looked into the study we could not determine that information.

      • Em says:

        The older I become the more my pain will increase-which, for some, is old age and has nothing to do w/ fibro. I was finally diagnosed w/ fibro 17 years ago.
        The isolation that this disorder has brought into my life is, at times, is seemingly insurmountable. The depression has gotten beyond description. I have been prescribed so many different medications I finally refused to be a guinea pig any more at the expense of the taxpayer and my bank account.
        I do feel badly for those older than myself that are treated lesser than by family and supposedly friends because their age w/ the typical age related problems and throw fibro in the mix-so sad.
        I call these my pewter years as it is a soft metal the same as gold only worth less.
        People I know that criticize do to ignorance-they may one day find themselves in the same situation and I sincerely hope they do not because
        it is cruel when others cannot comprehend. Loneliness is a silent torture.
        Dismounting soapbox once again.

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