The Obesity and Fibromyalgia Connection

The Obesity and Fibromyalgia Connection

According to research, the increase in fibromyalgia patient reports of pain and poor quality of life is proportional to their weight gain.
People who are obese are at a greater risk of experiencing more severe fibromyalgia symptoms. They tend to feel chronic pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue and mood disorders more severely.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Mayo Clinic defines fibromyalgia as a common syndrome affecting women that is characterized by musculoskeletal pain without any known cure. Researchers recommend including plans to lose weight when treating patients who are both overweight and has fibromyalgia.

Dr. Terry Oh from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Mayo Clinic states that the patient’s body mass index is associated with the severity of fibromyalgia symptoms he is experiencing and the poor quality of his life. Dr. Terry is the author of the study that investigated how the weight of obese patients correlates with their fibromyalgia symptom levels and quality of life.

How BMI Affect Fibromyalgia Patients

The body mass index or BMI is a measure of body fat taking into account the height and weight of a person. In gathering data for the research study, the BMI of 888 patients who have fibromyalgia was measured.

Half of the participants had a BMI score of 30 and above and so they are considered obese. The BMI of one-fourth of the patients was over 35 and so they are categorized as severely obese.

After taking their BMI measurements, the patients were asked about their symptoms and their capability to execute daily activities. Upon analysis, Dr. Terry found that with increasing weight, the severity of symptoms increased while their quality of life declined. For severely obese patients, the pain is much more than what the other patients experience.

The Arthritis Care & Research journal published this study which mentioned that majority of the people that have fibromyalgia are obese, which may be because these people have become more inactive as a result of the chronic pain and disability.

The Need for Weight Management

The study singled out BMI as a risk factor for fibromyalgia. Dr. Terry is, therefore, emphasizing the need for weight management in treating fibromyalgia patients.

Even with the close association of obesity with severe fibromyalgia symptoms, it does not mean that there is a cause-and-effect relationship.

Photo credits: Fibromyalgia by Cecilia Bailey via Flickr, CC by 2.0

Categories: Health

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