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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

Obesity Linked To Increased Risk of Fibromyalgia

Apr 13, 2011 12:14PM ● By Deepti Sadhwani, MD

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread pain lasting more than three months, and tender point sites in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms, and legs. Associated features often include unexplained fatigue, sleep disturbances, headache, cognitive difficulty, and mood disturbances. The prevalence of FM increases with age and is considerably higher among women than men.

According to new research, being overweight or obese is associated with an increased risk of fibromyalgia, especially those who do not exercise at all or exercise for less than an hour a week.

Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and is marked by widespread pain and tender points along the body, extreme fatigue, sleep problems, depression, and problems with cognition. Community-based measures aimed at reducing the incidence of fibromyalgia should emphasize the importance of regular physical exercise and maintenance of normal body weight.

Women with a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 had a 60 to 70 percent greater risk of developing fibromyalgia, when compared with their thinner counterparts. A BMI takes height and weight into account to measure body fat. If your BMI is greater than 25, you are considered overweight. If it is over 30, you are considered obese; a BMI over 40 is considered severely obese.

Exercise tends to offset the fibromyalgia risks posed by obesity. The more we exercise, the lower the risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Exactly how being overweight or obese could increase risk of developing fibromyalgia is not fully understood, but some research suggests that increased levels of certain inflammatory proteins may play a role in both fibromyalgia and obesity.

We know that people who already have fibromyalgia and exercise do far better than those people who have the disorder and don't exercise. People who are obese or overweight develop fibromyalgia more frequently, and those people who are overweight or obese and exercise are a little better off than those who don't exercise at all.

To help guard against the pain syndrome fibromyalgia, it is best to maintain a healthy weight and stay active.

Deepti Sadhwani, M.D. is located at Quality Health Care in Sebastian. She specializes in fighting obesity, aging, and helping people reduce and eliminate the need for medication. For more information call Dr. Sadhwani at 772-581-2373.

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