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Is fibromyalgia (FM) a distinct clinical entity? The epidemiologist's evidence

  [ 24 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • September 3, 1999


The key features of fibromyalgia are chronic widespread pain,
general distress and enhanced pain sensitivity as revealed by
a tender point count. Fibromyalgia could be considered a
distinct entity if the key features defined a patient group
with any one of the following: a characteristics feature or
cluster of features with a distribution clearly demarcating
the group from the rest of the population, identifiable risk
factors, a characteristic natural course or prognosis, or a
specific response to treatment. This should be seen in
population studies, not only in selected clinic series. The
available epidemiological evidence suggests that the
distributions of the key features are continuous and no clear
population groups can be defined. Also, difficulties in
identifying changes such as incidence and recovery, and
unreliable measurements of the key features themselves,
detract from the utility of the concept of fibromyalgia as an
epidemiological entity.

Makela MO




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