daily life

Fibromyalgia Feels Like You're 80

Karen Lee Richards Health Guide October 31, 2008
  • In one of my SharePosts from the American Academy of Pain Management's Clinical Meeting in Nashville, I told you about one of the speakers who said there is data showing that the average fibromyalgia patient of 47 feels like and functions at the level of an 80-year-old person.  One of our community members wisely asked if I could provide authoritative information about the study that she could give to her doctor.  I now have that information.

    The study entitled “Self-Assessed Physical Function Levels Of Women with Fibromyalgia – A National Survey”  was published in the September-October 2008 issue of the journal Women's Health Issues.  The objective of the study was to determine the self-reported physical function level of women with fibromyalgia.  The subjects included 1, 735 women, ranging in age from 31 to 78, who reported being diagnosed with FM.  Data was gathered from an Internet-based survey posted on the National Fibromyalgia Association website.


    The results of the study showed that:

    • More than 25% of women reported having difficulty taking care of personal needs and bathing.
    • More than 60% reported difficulty doing light household tasks, going up/down one flight of stairs, walking half a mile, and lifting or carrying 10 lbs.
    • More than 90% of women reported having difficulty doing heavy household tasks, lifting or carrying 25 lbs, and doing strenuous activities.
    • Women with lower functional ability reported higher levels of fatigue, pain, spasticity, depression, restless legs, balance problems, dizziness, fear of falling, and bladder problems.

    The study concluded that the average woman in this sample reported having less functional ability related to activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living than the average community-dwelling woman in her 80s.

    If you would like to e-mail or print the research abstract for your doctor, complete with researchers names and affiliations and journal publication information, you can find it here:   Self-Assessed Physical Function Levels Of Women with Fibromyalgia – A National Survey