Quality of life & physical functioning of relatives of fibromyalgia (FM) patients

OBJECTIVES: The quality of life (QOL) and health status of
fibromyalgia syndrome (FS) patients is impaired, and may
adversely affect their close relatives. The aim of this study
was to assess the QOL and physical functioning of relatives of
FS patients.

METHODS: A total of 118 relatives (parents,
husbands, siblings, and offspring) of 30 FS female patients
were evaluated using a QOL scale and the Fibromyalgia Impact
Questionnaire (FIQ) and were compared with 124 healthy
controls. These measures of functioning and QOL were further
studied in relatives with and without FS.

RESULTS: Although
the QOL of the relatives was better than that of the FS index
women, they were significantly less satisfied than the
controls with functioning-related aspects, namely work (job or
home), independence, and health (P < .05). Relatives with FS
(n = 29) and female relatives (n = 40) reported lower QOL than
relatives without FS (n = 89) and male relatives (n = 78),
respectively. Similarly, physical functioning of relatives,
though better than in FS index cases, was significantly worse
than in healthy controls. Furthermore, the health status of
female relatives and relatives with FS was significantly worse
than that of male relatives and relatives without FS,

CONCLUSIONS: The quality of life and physical
functioning of relatives of FS patients were found to be
impaired, especially in female relatives and those with
undiagnosed FS. This finding may be attributed to the
psychological distress in families of FS patients and to the
high prevalence (25%) of undiagnosed FS among the relatives.

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