Characteristics of Fibromyalgia in Muslim Bedouin Women in a Primary Care – Source: Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, Oct 29, 2007

Background: Fibromyalgia (FM) has been described and studied in various sociocultural settings in both developed and developing countries.

Objectives: To study the clinical manifestations of FM and to describe its effect on quality of life in the unique setting of Muslim Bedouin women in the southern Israel Negev desert area.

Methods: One hundred two Bedouin women were recruited from a primary health care clinic in the Negev area. All patients fulfilled American College of Rheumatology criteria for the diagnosis of FM. Tenderness was assessed by manual dolorimetry and the fibromyalgia impact questionnaire was utilized to estimate the severity of FM symptoms. Anxiety and depression were assessed by the Arthritis Impact Measurement Scales subscales and quality of life was evaluated by the SF-36 questionnaire.

Results: The study population was characterized by a low educational level, a high rate of consanguinity, a high number of children per mother, and a high rate of polygamy. There was a high frequency of classic FM symptoms such as pain and fatigue, as well as anxiety and depression. The overall impact of FM on quality of life was exceedingly high (8.9 on a scale of 0 to 10).

Conclusions: FM is relatively common in the unique setting of Muslim Bedouin women and has a very significant impact on their quality of life as well as on their dependents. Physicians involved in the primary care of this population should be attentive to the manifestations of FM and related disorders.

Source: Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2007 Oct 29; [E-pub ahead of print] Clinic PMID: 17977583, by Peleg R, Ablin JN, Peleg A, Neumann L, Rabia RA, Buskila D. Department of Family Medicine; Clalit Health Services, Southern Region; Kuseife Clinic, Clalit Health Services, Southern Region; and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.

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