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The London fibromyalgia (FM) Epidemiology Study: the prevalence of FM syndrome in London, Ontario

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OBJECTIVE: To estimate the point prevalence of fibromyalgia
syndrome (FM) among noninstitutionalized Canadian adults; and
to assess the effect of demographic variables on the odds of
having FM.

METHODS: A screening questionnaire was administered
via telephone to a random community sample of 3395
noninstitutionalized adults residing in London, Ontario.
Individuals screening positive were invited to be examined by
a rheumatologist to confirm or exclude FM using the 1990
American College of Rheumatology classification criteria.

RESULTS: One hundred confirmed cases of FM were identified, of
whom 86 were women. Mean age among FM cases was 49.2 years
among women, 39.3 years among men (p < 0.02). FM affects an
estimated 4.9% (95% CI 4.7%, 5.1%) of adult women and 1.6%
(1.3%, 1.9%) of adult men in London, for a female to male
ratio of roughly 3 to one. In women, prevalence rises steadily
with age from < 1% in women aged 18-30 to almost 8% in women
55-64. Thereafter, it declines. The peak prevalence in men
also appears to be in middle age (2.5%; 1.1%, 5.7%). FM
affects 3.3% (3.2%, 3.4%) of noninstitutionalized adults in
London. Female sex, middle age, less education, lower
household income, being divorced, and being disabled are
associated with increased odds of having FM.

CONCLUSION: FM is
a common musculoskeletal disorder among Canadian adults,
especially among women and persons of lower socioeconomic
status.

White KP, Speechley M, Harth M, Ostbye T

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