Obesity, Inactivity Increase Risk of Fibromyalgia
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found a link between obesity in women and fibromyalgia, an incurable disease that causes chronic pain. The study found an increased risk for fibromyalgia in women who lead a sedentary lifestyle and have a higher body mass index (BMI).
Fibromyalgia (FM) is diagnosed when a patient suffers from chronic pain that lasts for more than three months, tender joints, headaches, unexplained fatigue and mood disturbances. Although the exact cause of FM is unknown, the risk for developing FM increases with age and is more common in women than in men.
Researchers analyzed data from nearly 16,000 women spanning 11 years.
They found that women who exercised four times per week had a 29 percent lower risk of fibromyalgia compared with inactive women. A high BMI was also associated with a lower pain tolerance among patients with FM when compared to sufferers of a normal weight. Study findings were published online last week in the journal Arthritis Care and Research.
The exact connection between FM and obesity is unknown, and researchers are continuing their studies to determine the cause. However, they note that regular physical activity can help lessen the chance of developing the condition and improve overall health.
In a press statement, lead researcher Dr. Paul Mork said, “These findings, together with the current study, indicate that regular physical exercise, and thereby improved physical fitness, may serve as a buffer against the perpetuation of musculoskeletal symptoms that eventually lead to the development of FM.”
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