Doctors have known for a long time that obesity can be linked to a number of health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. These conditions can dramatically shorten life expectancy for individuals. But did you also know that obesity may be linked to fibromyalgia?
In a recent article published in the Journal of Pain, researchers announced that they've discovered a connection between the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia and obesity. As it turns out, obesity is a common problem for patients who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
The Weight-Fibromyalgia Connection
While this connection has been discussed for some time, the current research study wanted to test whether fibromyalgia—a disease affecting more women than men—would be more disabling for patients who were also obese. In all 215 patients were evaluated, testing sleep quality, vital stats, heart rates, flexibility and strength. Approximately 50 percent of the participants were characterized as ‘obese' while the remaining participants fell under the category of ‘overweight.'
The results showed that fibromyalgia sufferers who were obese suffered from the condition. In addition to showing increased sensitivity to pain (particularly in the lower body), they also experienced compromised strength and flexibility in their lower back.
The Bad News
In short, people with fibromyalgia who are also obese feel more pain and suffer from impaired sleep and other complications that ultimately lead to a reduced quality of life.
The Bright Side
With all of this seemingly bad news, it's important to remember there is a bright side. Patients may find that even moderate weight loss can have a dramatic impact on fibromyalgia symptoms. The American Pain Society is encourage people with chronic pain conditions to adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to combat the cycle of pain, fatigue and obesity that leaves so many unable to perform even simple tasks.