The Influence Of Physical, Social, And Mental Factors With Fibromyalgia

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Not surprisingly, a recent study found that physical, social, and psychological factors influence a fibromyalgia patient’s health-related quality of life.

What is different about this study is the advanced statistical analysis used to look at the interplay of mental, physical, and social factors, instead of examining them one at a time.

The researchers at the Chonnam National University Hospital and Medical School in Korea argue that many statistical methods keep investigators from seeing a complete patient picture. However, their statistical method of choice not only accounts for several factors at once, but also tracks the relationship between them.

Using this advanced analysis system, the Korean team assessed the physical disability, health-related quality of life, anxiety, depression, social support, and self-efficacy of 336 fibromyalgia patients. The investigators found these factors interacted in complex ways.

The study determined for instance that a poor health status, coupled with lack of confidence in the ability to manage the disease’s impact, was associated with a low physical quality of life. Two other factors affecting physical quality of life were depression, and anxiety.

It was also found that a fibromyalgia sufferer’s mental quality of life was affected by all the factors studied. Both depression and anxiety affected each of the other factors, and social support was tied to all factors except physical well-being.

“In conclusion, HRQOL [health-related quality of life] in FM patients was affected by physical, social, and psychological variables in our structural equation model,” wrote the team. “Higher physical function and higher self-efficacy may all improve the physical component of HRQOL, and better physical function and lower levels of depression and anxiety may directly improve the mental component of HRQOL.”

What this study boils down to is the need for taking more than pain-related symptoms into account when treating people with fibromyalgia. Both medical and non-medical interventions that improve mental health may also help alleviate the physical aspects of the illness.

Source: Fibromyalgia News Today
Photo credit: Francesco


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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