Eliminating Gender Bias Lowers Estimated Fibromyalgia Prevalence in Women, Study Reports

Eliminating Gender Bias Lowers Estimated Fibromyalgia Prevalence in Women, Study Reports
Fibromyalgia is considered to mostly affect women, with estimates showing they account for more than 90% of reported cases. However, according to a new study, this percentage is not supported by unbiased studies, and when gender bias is eliminated, the proportion of women with fibromyalgia is lowered to 60%. The study, “Fibromyalgia diagnosis and biased assessment: Sex, prevalence and bias,” was published in the journal Plos One. Fibromyalgia is chronic widespread pain in muscles and tendons. There are two types of fibromyalgia: one that is diagnosed based on a set of published criteria by the American College of Rheumatology (CritFM) and another based on clinical diagnosis (ClinFM). Epidemiological studies estimate the majority of fibromyalgia cases to be in women, but this finding could be biased due to different criteria and methodology used in making diagnoses. Moreover, "different criteria sets and methodology, as well as bias, have led to widely varying (0.4%->11%) estimates of prevalence and female predominance (>90% to <61%)," the researchers wrote. Using the 2016 American College of Rheumatology fibromyalgia criteria and a rheumatic disease databank, the researchers analyzed fibromyalgia prevalence and gender distribution. They used two data sets in their analysis. The first group, referred to as the selection biased group, consisted of 1,761 patients who were specifically diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a rheumatologist. A second set, called the unbiased group, in
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  1. LG says:

    My cousin was told by her doctor she had never seen such a bad case of Fibromyalgia. She doesn’t have Fibromyalgia but has many other musculoskeletal problems resulting in pain in many areas of her body. She has absolutely no cognition issues.

    I think for many years women were getting a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia without going through MRI’s or a whole body bone scan to see what is really going on. Many women have osteoarthritis or osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory arthritis. But they were told they have Fibromyalgia and had Fibro and depression drugs thrown at them. Outrageous. It is a good thing fewer women and more men will be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. This is a big step forward.

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