Beyond pain in fibromyalgia: Insights into the symptom of fatigue

Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, 55905, USA. .
Arthritis research & therapy (Impact Factor: 3.75). 11/2013; 15(6):221. DOI: 10.1186/ar4395
Source: PubMed


Fatigue is a disabling, multifaceted symptom that is highly prevalent and stubbornly persistent. Although fatigue is a frequent complaint among patients with fibromyalgia, it has not received the same attention as pain. Reasons for this include lack of standardized nomenclature to communicate about fatigue, lack of evidence-based guidelines for fatigue assessment, and a deficiency in effective treatment strategies. Fatigue does not occur in isolation; rather, it is present concurrently in varying severity with other fibromyalgia symptoms such as chronic widespread pain, unrefreshing sleep, anxiety, depression, cognitive difficulties, and so on. Survey-based and preliminary mechanistic studies indicate that multiple symptoms feed into fatigue and it may be associated with a variety of physiological mechanisms. Therefore, fatigue assessment in clinical and research settings must consider this multi-dimensionality. While no clinical trial to date has specifically targeted fatigue, randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses indicate that treatment modalities studied in the context of other fibromyalgia symptoms could also improve fatigue. The Outcome Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) Fibromyalgia Working Group and the Patient Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) have been instrumental in propelling the study of fatigue in fibromyalgia to the forefront. The ongoing efforts by PROMIS to develop a brief fibromyalgia-specific fatigue measure for use in clinical and research settings will help define fatigue, allow for better assessment, and advance our understanding of fatigue.

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Available from: Samantha J Mcallister, Mar 24, 2015
    • "It is also important to bear in mind that obesity is a key factor in the metabolic syndrome, which in turn might contribute to the relationship between body fatness and physical fatigue . Obesity can also be a barrier against physical activity and having an active lifestyle (Vincent et al., 2013; Jarosz et al., 2014). Therefore, our results suggest the importance of keeping normal body fat levels as well as high physical fitness levels, which might control the physical-related fatigue levels in fibromyalgia women. "
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The relationship between estimates of total and central body fat with fibromyalgia pain, fatigue and overall impact has not been fully described. We aimed to assess the individual and combined association of body fat (total and central) with pain, fatigue and the overall impact in fibromyalgia women; and to study the possible mediation role of physical fitness in these associations. METHODS: A total of 486 fibromyalgia women with a mean (standard deviation) age of 52.2 (8.0) years participated. Pain was measured with self-reported measures and algometry, whereas fatigue with the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory. The impact of fibromyalgia was measured with the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQR) total score. Total and central body fat were assessed by means of bioelectrical impedance and waist circumference, respectively. The Functional Senior Fitness Test battery and the handgrip strength test were used to assess physical fitness. RESULTS: Total and central body fat were positively associated with pain- and fatigue-related measures and the FIQR total score (β from 0.10 to 0.25; all, p < 0.05). A combined effect of total and central body fat was observed on pain (FIQR and 36-item Short-Form Health Survey), general and physical-related fatigue and FIQR total score (all, overall p < 0.05), so that the group with no total and central obesity had more favourable results than those with total and central obesity. Cardiorespiratory fitness partially mediated (between 22-40% of the total effect) the associations between total and central body fat with pain, general fatigue, physical fatigue and reduced activity, and largely mediated (80%) the association of central body fat with the FIQR total score. CONCLUSIONS: Physical fitness might potentially explain the association between obesity and fibromyalgia symptoms
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives To characterize a representative sample of fibromyalgia women based on a set of relevant factors known to be related to this disease. To distinguish specific factors of the disease from other symptoms that might also exist in non-fibromyalgia women. To test whether fibromyalgia affects more severely physical or psychological outcomes. Methods A total of 459 fibromyalgia women vs. 214 non-fibromyalgia (control) women from southern Spain (Andalusia) took part in this cross-sectional study. Several instruments were used to assess tenderness, impact of fibromyalgia, fatigue, health-related quality of life, mental health and cognitive performance. Results Overall, fibromyalgia women showed a worse status in pain, fatigue, health-related quality of life, depression and anxiety than controls (P<0.01). In general, the observed associations presented very large effect sizes (Cohen’s d from ~1 to ~5.5). No differences between fibromyalgia and controls were observed in cognitive and memory performance, except for delayed recall, but the observed effect size was low (~0.25). The effect size observed for the global physical component (~3.3) was larger than that for the global psychological component (~1.3), all P<0.001. Conclusions Our results reinforce the understanding of fibromyalgia as a polysymptomatic distress condition with pain as its main symptom. Our findings support that fibromyalgia seems to have a greater impact on physical than on psychological outcomes, though both are largely affected.
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    ABSTRACT: Many individuals with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) are hypermobile, suffer from long term pain, and have complex health problems. Since these sometimes have no objective physical signs, individuals with EDS sometimes are referred for psychiatric evaluation. The aim was therefore to identify the level of anxiety and quality of life in a Swedish group of individuals with EDS. A postal survey in 2008 was distributed to 365 members over 18 years of the Swedish National EDS Association and 250 with EDS diagnosis responded. Two questionnaires, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and SF-36, were used. A Swedish population study was used to compare results from SF-36. Independent Student's t-test was used to compare differences between groups, possible relationships were tested using Spearman's correlation coefficient and the General Linear Model was used for regression analyses. Higher scores on HADS represent higher levels of anxiety and depression and higher scores on SF-36 represent higher quality of health. Of the respondents 74.8% scored high on anxiety and 22.4% scored high on depression on the HADS. Age, tiredness and back pain was independently associated with the HAD anxiety score in a multiple regression analysis, When comparing the SF-36 scores from the EDS group and a Swedish population group, the EDS group scored significantly lower, indicating lower health-related quality of health than the general population (p < 0.001). In comparison with a Swedish population group, a lower health-related quality of life was found in the EDS group. Also, higher levels of anxiety and depression were detected in individuals with EDS. The importance to explore the factors behind these results and what initiatives can be taken to alleviate the situation for this group is emphasized.
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