Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that obese people are at greater risk for fibromyalgia and are more likely to suffer from severe symptoms.
“We see an association between body mass index with symptom severity and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia,” says study author Terry Oh, of the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “This was the first study to look at distinct groups of obese patients and determine how weight correlates with levels of symptoms and quality of life.”
Researchers studied the body mass index (BMI) of 888 fibromyalgia patients at the Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Treatment Programme in Rochester, Minnesota. Obesity (a BMI greater than 29) was common in roughly half of the patients and a quarter were severely obese (a BMI greater than 35). The severity of fibromyalgia symptoms was greater in overweight patients and they also reported a poorer quality of life.
Although a cause and effect relationship has not been established between obesity and fibromyalgia, a higher rate of obesity in those who have fibromyalgia may be caused by increased disability and a lack of physical inactivity.
“BMI has already been singled out as an independent risk factor for fibromyalgia,” said Dr. Oh. “Our results underscore the importance of incorporating weight management strategies in treatment programs for fibromyalgia patients.”