Open Access Research article

Prevalence of fibromyalgia in a low socioeconomic status population

Ana Assumpção1*, Alane B Cavalcante2, Cristina E Capela3, Juliana F Sauer2, Suellen D Chalot2, Carlos AB Pereira4 and Amélia P Marques2

Author Affiliations

1 Experimental Physiopathology Post Graduating Program, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

2 Department of Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

3 Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Bandeirantes, São Paulo, Brazil

4 Statistics Department, Institute of Mathematics and Statistics, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2009, 10:64  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-64

Published: 8 June 2009

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of fibromyalgia, as well as to assess the major symptoms of this syndrome in an adult, low socioeconomic status population assisted by the primary health care system in a city in Brazil.

Methods

We cross-sectionally sampled individuals assisted by the public primary health care system (n = 768, 35–60 years old). Participants were interviewed by phone and screened about pain. They were then invited to be clinically assessed (304 accepted). Pain was estimated using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Fibromyalgia was assessed using the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ), as well as screening for tender points using dolorimetry. Statistical analyses included Bayesian Statistics and the Kruskal-Wallis Anova test (significance level = 5%).

Results

From the phone-interview screening, we divided participants (n = 768) in three groups: No Pain (NP) (n = 185); Regional Pain (RP) (n = 388) and Widespread Pain (WP) (n = 106). Among those participating in the clinical assessments, (304 subjects), the prevalence of fibromyalgia was 4.4% (95% confidence interval [2.6%; 6.3%]). Symptoms of pain (VAS and FIQ), feeling well, job ability, fatigue, morning tiredness, stiffness, anxiety and depression were statically different among the groups. In multivariate analyses we found that individuals with FM and WP had significantly higher impairment than those with RP and NP. FM and WP were similarly disabling. Similarly, RP was no significantly different than NP.

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is prevalent in the low socioeconomic status population assisted by the public primary health care system. Prevalence was similar to other studies (4.4%) in a more diverse socioeconomic population. Individuals with FM and WP have significant impact in their well being.