Fibromyalgia Symptoms May Be Worse in Young Patients

Fibromyalgia symptoms reported to be worse in young patients than in older patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Youth is often associated with feeling good and healthy. But when it comes to patients with fibromyalgia, being young may not be better than being older.

A recent study found that young and middle-aged people with fibromyalgia reported worse symptoms and quality of life than older patients.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and tenderness.

"Talk with your doctor about your fibromyalgia symptoms."

This study was led by Terry Oh, MD, a physical and rehabilitation physician at Mayo Clinic. Its findings were presented at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting.

A total of 978 fibromyalgia patients were divided into three age groups — 60 and older (185 patients, 18.9 percent), 40 to 59 (560 patients, 57.3 percent) and 39 and younger (233 patients, 23.8 percent). The average age of the patients was 48.6 years.

Patients completed questionnaires at the time of their evaluation that assessed the impact of their fibromyalgia and health status.

The researchers found that the younger and middle-aged patients were more likely to be unmarried, smoke, work, be more educated, have a lower body mass index (a measure of body composition based on height and weight) and have a shorter length of fibromyalgia symptoms than the older patients.

According to Dr. Oh, women in all three groups noted that they had a lower quality of life than the average American woman the same age. They said that the differences between their physical well-being was more significant than mental health differences, compared to the average woman.

“Among the three age groups of young, middle-aged and older, symptom severity and quality of life differs,” Dr. Oh said in a Mayo Clinic press release.

In other Mayo Clinic studies presented at the meeting, researchers found that about 7 percent of people with fibromyalgia had inflammatory rheumatoid conditions. These people generally didn't respond as well to treatment as those without rheumatic conditions.

Also, fibromyalgia patients may have skin-related symptoms like burning or excessive sweating.

This study was presented on October 27 at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

The researchers did not disclose any financial ties.

Review Date: 
October 27, 2013
Last Updated:
February 27, 2014