Study Finds Severe Fatigue Common in Fibromyalgia and other Disorders - Calls for More Research

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member

"one out of every two patients with a rheumatic disease is severely fatigued. As severe fatigue is detrimental to the patient, the near environment, and society at large, unraveling the underlying mechanisms of fatigue and developing optimal treatment should be top priorities in rheumatologic research and practice."

Severe fatigue is finally being taken more seriously. This 6000 plus study examined how common severe fatigue was in no less than 30 diseases. - 88% of which were female...they found that it was VERY common and urged that the causes of severe fatigue be made a priority... I could get behind that!

That's probably not going to happen until NIAMS gets off it's butt, though, and decides to start funding some FM research.

My guess is that severe fatigue is one of the most functionally limiting symptoms found. Not surprisingly fibromyalgia was the most fatiguing rheumatic disorder found with 82% of FM patients experiencing severe fatigue...
Clin Rheumatol. 2015 Aug 15. [Epub ahead of print]The prevalence of severe fatigue in rheumatic diseases: an international study.
Overman CL1, Kool MB, Da Silva JA, Geenen R.
Abstract

Fatigue is a common, disabling, and difficult-to-manage problem in rheumatic diseases. Prevalence estimates of fatigue within rheumatic diseases vary considerably. Data on the prevalence of severe fatigue across multiple rheumatic diseases using a similar instrument is missing. Our aim was to provide an overview of the prevalence of severe fatigue across a broad range of rheumatic diseases and to examine its association with clinical and demographic variables.

Online questionnaires were filled out by an international sample of 6120 patients (88 % female, mean age 47) encompassing 30 different rheumatic diseases. Fatigue was measured with the RAND(SF)-36 Vitality scale. A score of ≤35 was taken as representing severe fatigue (90 % sensitivity and 81 % specificity for chronic fatigue syndrome).

Severe fatigue was present in 41 to 57 % of patients with a single inflammatory rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjögren's syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, and scleroderma.

Severe fatigue was least prevalent in patients with osteoarthritis (35 %) and most prevalent in patients with fibromyalgia (82 %).

In logistic regression analysis, severe fatigue was associated with having fibromyalgia, having multiple rheumatic diseases without fibromyalgia, younger age, lower education, and language (French: highest prevalence; Dutch: lowest prevalence).

In conclusion, one out of every two patients with a rheumatic disease is severely fatigued. As severe fatigue is detrimental to the patient, the near environment, and society at large, unraveling the underlying mechanisms of fatigue and developing optimal treatment should be top priorities in rheumatologic research and practice.
 

Dee VanDine

Member
i'm confused. is fibro seen as a separate illness from ME/CFS by the CDC an/or NIH? when i search their websites they look to be individual issues. but, shouldn't they be lumped together for funding purposes? i'm sorry if this is an old subject. i'm new to the forum and am having trouble weeding through so much useful info. thanks.
 

Snookum96

Active Member
i'm confused. is fibro seen as a separate illness from ME/CFS by the CDC an/or NIH? when i search their websites they look to be individual issues. but, shouldn't they be lumped together for funding purposes? i'm sorry if this is an old subject. i'm new to the forum and am having trouble weeding through so much useful info. thanks.
Yes, they are separate illnesses. I agree it can be really confusing, and complete information overload at first.
They have many of the same symptoms as well. From what I understand the distinguishing symptom is PEM. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

For research purposes it would likely confuse things if they were lumped. together. FM seems to be better accepted and from what I've heard is more treatable. Lumping them together might cause doctors to diagnose everyone with FM since they understand pain but can't understand CFS.

In Canada FM gets more funding than CFS. It's considered a pain disorder. CFS isn't really considered anything at all.

I'm no expert and I'm fairly new at this as well, but hope this helps.
 

Dee VanDine

Member
Yes, they are separate illnesses. I agree it can be really confusing, and complete information overload at first.
They have many of the same symptoms as well. From what I understand the distinguishing symptom is PEM. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

For research purposes it would likely confuse things if they were lumped. together. FM seems to be better accepted and from what I've heard is more treatable. Lumping them together might cause doctors to diagnose everyone with FM since they understand pain but can't understand CFS.

In Canada FM gets more funding than CFS. It's considered a pain disorder. CFS isn't really considered anything at all.

I'm no expert and I'm fairly new at this as well, but hope this helps.
this does help, though i wonder if it holds true in the US. it explains why they first diagnosed me with CFS (i have PEM), but later diagnosed me with fibro. i've used the fibro label for years since more people seemed to be familiar with it. wonder how many others out there have done the same thing. i realize now that that action doesn't help the ME/CFS numbers. and, now i know why my pain docs look at me cross-eyed when i try to explain that i cannot exercise without major repercussions. thanks!
 

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