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Obesity Negatively Impacts Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Obese patients more likely to have greater pain, worse function and sleep

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is common in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and appears to adversely impact the severity of the condition, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of Pain.

Akiko Okifuji, Ph.D., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues evaluated 215 FMS patients who completed a set of self-report inventories to assess FMS-related symptoms. Patients underwent tender point examination, physical performance testing, and seven-day home sleep assessment.

The researchers found that 47 percent of participants were obese and an additional 30 percent were overweight. The investigators found that participants who were obese experienced significantly greater pain sensitivity to tender point palpation (particularly in the lower body areas), decreased physical strength and lower-body flexibility, shorter sleep duration, and more restlessness during sleep.

"In summary, obesity is a common comorbidity that may complicate the clinical picture of FMS. Obesity in FMS adversely affects both the quality and quantity of sleep, physical strength and flexibility, and pain sensitivity to pressure particularly in the lower body," the authors write. "Future research needs to clarify the mechanisms of how obesity and its associated specific and relevant factors influence FMS as well as how successful weight management changes the expression of FMS."

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