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Relation Of Age With Symptom Severity and Quality Of Life In Patients With Fibromyalgia

Oh, Terry H. MD
Jiao, Juan MD; Vincent, Ann MD; Luedtke, Connie A. MA, RN; Cha, Stephen MS
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Presenter Available:
9:00 am - 11:00 am
Poster Available:
8:30 am - 4:00 pm
Exhibit Hall B2-C-D
Session Title:
Fibromyalgia, Soft Tissue Disorders and Pain I
Abstract Category:
Fibromyalgia, Soft Tissue Disorders and Pain

Background/Purpose: The relationship of age and fibromyalgia symptom severity and quality of life (QOL) is still debated. Reports range from no differences between patients younger and older than 60 years, to less symptom burden in older patients, and worse symptoms as well as QOL in older patients with fibromyalgia. The goals of this present study were to examine the relationship of age with symptom severity and QOL in patients with fibromyalgia and to compare QOL in physical and mental health of our female patients with the female general population.

Methods: Nine hundred seventy eight patients with fibromyalgia who presented to a tertiary care fibromyalgia clinic were divided into 3 age groups: young (≤ 39 years), middle-aged (40-59 years) and older (≥60 years). They completed the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and the Short Form-36 Health Status Questionnaire (SF-36) at the time of their evaluation. A standardization of the SF-36 physical and mental component summaries of our female patients was made in accordance with the normative data from the US female general population. One-way ANOVA and Post Hoc pairwise t-tests analyses were performed to detect differences across age-groups.

Results: The mean age of 978 patients was 48.6 years (range, 19 to 87 years). Our patients age distribution in young, middle-aged and older were 233 (23.8%), 560 (57.3%), and 185 (18.9%), respectively. The young and middle-aged patients were more likely to be unmarried, employed, and current smokers, and to have a higher education level and more abuse history, a lower BMI, and a shorter duration of symptoms compared with the older patients. Pairwise comparison within 3 age-groups showed the young and middle-aged patients having worse fibromyalgia symptoms in the FIQ total score and all subscales except for the anxiety subscale when compared to the older patients (Ps≤0.014). Similarly, those young and middle-aged patients had worse QOL in the SF-36 mental component summary, as well as SF-36 general health perceptions, vitality, social functioning, and mental health index compared to the older patients (Ps<0.001). When QOL of our female patients was compared to the U.S. female general population of similar age, all age groups had lower QOL in physical as well as mental health with more prominent reduction on physical health, particularly in the young patients.

Conclusion: Our study illustrates that symptom severity and QOL differs across age-groups in patients with fibromyalgia. Young and middle-aged patients had poorer QOL and worse fibromyalgia symptoms compared to older patients. When the QOL of our female patients was compared with the US female general population of similar age, all age-groups had lower QOL in physical as well as mental health, particularly on physical health in the young patients. Further studies are needed to demonstrate the physiologic and pathological mechanisms underneath this phenomenon in patients with fibromyalgia according to age.


J. Jiao, None; A. Vincent, None; C. A. Luedtke, None; S. Cha, None; T. H. Oh, None.