New Fibromyalgia Education Campaign

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide
  • The National Fibromyalgia Association announced Tuesday that it has launched a new national educational campaign aimed at increasing understanding of fibromyalgia among patients, healthcare providers and the public. The impetus for the campaign came in part from the results of two new fibromyalgia surveys –– one of the general public and one of physicians –– underscoring the need for greater awareness of this debilitating condition.

    Some information gathered from the physician survey:
    • Eight in 10 physicians (82 percent) agree there is a need for more patient-oriented information on fibromyalgia.
    • Doctors rank the ability to work as the area of a patient’s life most impacted by FM, followed by personal relationships and ability to care for family.
    • For most specialties surveyed, less than one-third of physicians are extremely or very confident in their ability to diagnose fibromyalgia (6 percent of OB/GYNs; 23 percent of psychiatrists; 27 percent of neurologists; 28 percent of primary care physicians). In contrast, rheumatologists are the most confident in their ability to diagnose FM (87 percent extremely to very confident).
    • More than half of physicians (60 percent) worry about labeling patients as having fibromyalgia.
    • Nearly half the doctors (48 percent) are reluctant to diagnose a patient with FM.
    The survey of the general public showed:
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    • Nearly half of the general public (45 percent) has never heard of fibromyalgia.
    • Approximately one-third of those who are knowledgeable about FM incorrectly classify it as an autoimmune disease (32 percent) or a type of arthritis (28 percent).
    • Respondents perceive FM as having a strong or very strong impact on patients’ ability to work (62 percent), ability to care for family (54 percent), an personal relationships (47 percent)
    • Two out of five respondents (42 percent) report waiting two or more years for a diagnosis, including 22 percent who waited five years or more.
    The NFA’s multi-faceted campaign will include patient education materials, resources, tools, a nationally broadcast public service announcement featuring patient stories and an interactive Web site –– They have also partnered with internationally renowned physician and author Dr. Pamela Peeke, who has treated people with FM for more than 20 years. The campaign is supported through a sponsorship by Pfizer.

Published On: August 09, 2007