Epidemiology of Fibromyalgia

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Prevalence[edit]

The most comprehensive review of fibromyalgia prevalence as of 2021 was probably the Queiroz review of 2013. It looked at numerous studies and summarized them for numerous countries. (Worldwide epidemiology of fibromyalgia. Queiroz LP1. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2013 Aug;17(8):356. doi: 10.1007/s11916-013-0356-5, available in full online at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/242016982_Worldwide_Epidemiology_of_Fibromyalgia. Queiroz et al. then estimated the global prevalence to be 2.7 percent.

Neumann et al. estimated the prevalence of FM in the general population to “range from 0.5% to 5% and up to 15.7% in the clinic.” (Epidemiology of fibromyalgia. Neumann L1, Buskila D. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2003 Oct;7(5):362-8.)

The National Fibromyalgia Association in the US said “it “affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women —75-90 percent of the people who have FM are women —it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups.” (National Fibromyalgia Association web site http://www.fmaware.org/about-fibromyalgia/prevalence/) Bennett et al. estimated it to be 2-7 percent (An internet survey of 2,596 people with fibromyalgia. Robert M Bennett, 1 Jessie Jones,2 Dennis C Turk,3 I Jon Russell,4 and Lynne Matallana , BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2007; 8: 27, available in full online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1829161/. This source provides 12 references.)

Walitt et al. said that: “In the US population of persons ≥18 years of age in 2012, 1.75% (95% CI 1.42, 2.07), or 3.94 million, satisfied study specific criteria for fibromyalgia (Table 1). The prevalence was lowest in the 18–29 age group (0.76% (0.05, 1.46)) and rose to 2.41% (1.49, 3.33) in the 50–59 years age group, from which there was no significant difference in prevalence compared with older age groups. Among those with fibromyalgia, 83.57% satisfied the ACR 1990 criterion for widespread pain compared to 5.21% without fibromyalgia.” (The Prevalence and Characteristics of Fibromyalgia in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, Brian Walitt, 1 ,* Richard L. Nahin, 1 Robert S. Katz, 2 Martin J. Bergman, 3 and Frederick Wolfe, PLoS One. 2015; 10(9): e0138024. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138024, available in full online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4575027/. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration, which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.)

Prevalence in adolescence was estimate to be 6.2 % in school children between the ages of nine and 15 (in Israel) Journal of Rheumatology in 1993, (Buskila). However, the prevalence in adolescents has been found to be similar to those in adults in many studies.

Walitt et al. 2012 studied the effect of race on prevalence in the US, and found: “Asians had a significantly lower fibromyalgia prevalence…and ‘all other races’” (more than one race and/or American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander) a significantly greater prevalence, 7.35%...”

Amongst the patients referred to a tertiary care pain clinic, more than 40% met the criteria for fibromyalgia.[12] The risk for fibromyalgia is higher if you have an existent rheumatic disease.” (Fibromyalgia, Juhi Bhargava; John A. Hurley. Last Update: May 1, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK540974/. This book is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, a link is provided to the Creative Commons license, and any changes made are indicated.

The prevalence in women is 3.4 percent and in men it is .5 %. (Cited in: The juvenile fibromyalgia syndrome (JFMS): a poorly defined disorder. de Sanctis Vincenzo,1 Abbasciano Vincenzo,2 T Soliman Ashraf,3 Soliman Nada,4 Di Maio Salvatore,5 Fiscina Bernadette,6 and Kattamis Christos7 Acta Biomed. 2019; 90(1): 134–148.doi: 10.23750/abm.v90i1.814, available in full online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6502146/.)

For a map showing the worldwide prevalence see: “Fig. 2. Worldwide distribution of fibromyalgia prevalence (2005–2014).” Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia (English Edition) Volume 57, Issue 4, July–August 2017, Pages 356-363, Prevalence of fibromyalgia: literature review update. Amelia Pasqual MarquesAdriana de Sousa do Espírito Santo Ana Assumpção Berssaneti Luciana Akemi Matsutani Susan Lee King Yuan, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2255502117300056

Given the many problems with diagnosis, it is possible that prevalence in underestimated.

Typical age of diagnosis[edit]

The diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years.

Effect of age on incidence[edit]

The incidence rises with age. By 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia.

Female to male ratio[edit]

According to Bennett et al. the ratio of female to male is approximately 9:1. (Bennett et al. 2007 (An internet survey of 2,596 people with fibromyalgia. Robert M Bennett, 1 Jessie Jones,2 Dennis C Turk,3 I Jon Russell,4 and Lynne Matallana5 , available in full online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1829161/.)

In children of those affected, 67% are girls and 33% are boys. (Wolfe, 1993)

In a 2015 US study the prevalence of fibromyalgia was 2.38% in women compared with 1.06% in men. (The Prevalence and Characteristics of Fibromyalgia in the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, Brian Walitt, Richard L. Nahin, Robert S. Katz, Martin J. Bergman, and Frederick Wolfe, PLoS One. 2015; 10(9): e0138024. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138024, available in full online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4575027/.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Public Domain declaration, which stipulates that, once placed in the public domain, this work may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose.)

Median age of onset[edit]

This is 29 to 37 years. (Cited in Krsnich-Shriwise, 1997)

Further information[edit]

Women & Fibro – Click For More Info

Men & Fibro – Click for More Info

Juvenile FM – Click for More Info

(National Fibromyalgia Association web site http://www.fmaware.org/about-fibromyalgia/prevalence/)

Women and Pain: A Focus on Fibromyalgia, Lynne Matallana. http://www.fmaware.org/about-fibromyalgia/prevalence/women-fibro/

Prevalence of fibromyalgia in general population and patients, a systematic review and meta-analysis. Fatemeh Heidari 1, Mahdi Afshari 2, Mahmood Moosazadeh 3 Review Rheumatol Int . 2017 Sep;37(9):1527-1539. doi: 10.1007/s00296-017-3725-2. Epub 2017 Apr 26, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28447207/

Fitzcharles MA, McDougall J, Ste-Marie PA, Padjen I. Clinical implications for cannabinoid use in the rheumatic diseases: potential for help or harm? Arthritis Rheum. 2012;64(8):2417-2425.

Wolfe F, Ross K, Anderson J, Russell IJ, Hebert L. The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population. Arthritis Rheum. 1995;38(1):19-28.

McBeth J, Jones K. Epidemiology of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2007;21(3):403-425.

Vincent A, Lahr BD, Wolfe F, et al. Prevalence of fibromyalgia: a population-based study in Olmsted County, Minnesota, utilizing the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2013;65(5):786-792.