Sleep problems up fibromyalgia risk

  • Deborah Condon

Women who suffer from sleeping problems may be at an increased risk of developing the painful condition, fibromyalgia, the results of a new study indicate.

Fibromyalgia is a widespread pain felt in the muscles, ligaments and tendons. This can be similar to the pain experienced in arthritis. However, unlike arthritis, the joints are not deformed or damaged by the condition.

It is estimated to affect between 2-6% of people and the majority of sufferers are women.

According to Norwegian researchers, while previous studies have found that sleep problems, such as insomnia and fatigue, are common among people with fibromyalgia, until now, it was unclear whether these problems actually played a role in the development of the condition.

However, their study, which involved over 12,000 women, found a ‘strong association between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia risk in adult women'.

"We found a dose-response relation, where women who often reported sleep problems had a greater risk of fibromyalgia than those who never experienced sleep problems," explained lead researcher, Dr Paul Mork, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

The study found that overall, almost 3% of the women went on to develop fibromyalgia, but those with sleep problems were much more likely to develop it, particularly if they were over the age of 45.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Arthritis & Rheumatism.

For more information on fibromyalgia, click here


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