Fibromyalgia And Obesity
A Common problem & A Subject Of Controversies
Why Is That?

Fibromyalgia And Obesity

Obesity is taking epidemic proportions.

This to such an extent that it is present with any disease. Being in itself a disease, it is common to find it as a co-morbidity with almost any disease. Even with diseases that are marked by a loss of weight, they have often started on an obese body.

And let's say it again: it is commoner to acquire a new disease on an already diseased body!

Obesity is also an inflammatory disease and this in itself will favor the acquirement of other diseases.

Finally, obese people have a shortened life expectancy with numerous imbalances such as hormonal, immunity, respiratory, cardio-vascular etc. making them more prone to acquire other diseases.

In summary, obesity is in itself an imbalance between intake and output. Excessive intake in comparison with decreased catabolic expenses such as decreased physical activity or decreased hormonal metabolism, whatever the cause.

Everyone knows that the more stressed you are, the more you tend to feed and the less you tend to exercise.

And we have not yet talked about the quality of food such as an excess in carbohydrates, or the deficient quality of the food we get without its normal content in vitamins and minerals.

We could summarize that aspect by outlining the decrease in anti-oxidant intake and the excessive ingestion of pro-oxidants. If magnesium is deficient in fibromyalgia we must not forget that supplement of magnesium and weight loss has been demonstrated.

So, what about fibromyalgia?

We know that stress is a trigger and that magnesium deficiency is a huge factor.

We also know that the consequence of fibromyalgia is fatigue, tiredness and the inability to exercise the most simple chores, let alone practice sports.

We also know that there are elevated inflammatory markers in fibromyalgia and that the statement of saying that fibromyalgia is not an inflammatory disease is totally untrue. It's not because fibromyalgia pain is not relieved by anti-inflammatory drugs that it is not an inflammatory disease. The same goes with obesity.

So, it's not unexpected to find overweight and obesity to be a common problem in fibromyalgia.

And it's not unexpected to find that fibromyalgia is commoner in overweight or obese people! Simple common sense.

But that said, there is a huge gap between finding a tendency of association (cause or consequence?) and drawing an equal sign between obesity and fibromyalgia.

Obesity is not a sign nor a cause of fibromyalgia. They may have some commonalities but we do not need to add to fibromyalgia sufferers another stress factor of an untold accusation that they did not keep fit enough.

They have a genetic muscle disease and that is enough of a burden to carry! If they did not keep fit enough is due to their muscle disease and the muscles inability to relax correctly.

This inability to relax diminishes the recovery from exercise and another vicious cycle starts.

The same happens with obesity where common good sense tells us it can only add a burden to fibromyalgia sufferers in term of pain, inflammation, fatigue, sleep problems etc.

Finally, we must not forget the role of drugs used to "treat" fibromyalgia. The association between Lyrica and weight gain is recognized. And this applies to all anti-depressants, anti-epileptics, and analgesics.

In fibromyalgia obesity is an added burden!


- Obesity and fibromyalgia is a common problem, so says a new study: Okifuji A, Bradshaw DH, Olson C. Evaluating obesity in fibromyalgia: neuroendocrine biomarkers, symptoms, and functions. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Jan 27.

- J.K. Lake, C. Power and T.J. Cole, Back pain and obesity in the 1958 British birth cohort. Cause or effect?, J Clin Epidemiol 53 (2000), pp. 245–250

- Anandacoomarasamy A, Fransen M, March L. Obesity and the musculoskeletal system. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2009 Jan;21(1):71-7.

Obesity and Fibromyalgia

Obesity and fibromyalgia is a common problem, so says a new study: Okifuji A, Bradshaw DH, Olson C. Evaluating obesity in fibromyalgia: neuroendocrine biomarkers, symptoms, and functions. Clin Rheumatol. 2009 Jan 27.

Small study on fibromyalgia evaluating the occurrence of obesity in FM. Half the patients were obese and another 20% were overweight. It also indicated an association between obesity and inflammatory markers as well as sleep disturbance.

Unhappily, the number of patients is small (38) and there is no group control with obese patients not suffering from fibromyalgia.

We do know that obesity is an inflammatory disease and that patients do have sleep disturbance.

We also know that fibromyalgia necessitates a diet avoiding pro-oxidants that in itself is not enough to treat fibromyalgia but helps. This type of diet is also useful for obesity.

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