Symptom and functional domains in fibromyalgia patients
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic heterogeneous syndrome that affects around 2% - 3% of the general population. The primary symptoms include chronic, widespread pain associated with generalized tenderness on light palpation. Previously, many patients have reported a multitude of additional complaints and symptoms, including fatigue, exhaustibility and stiffness, and impaired concentration and memory (a complaint that is recognized as an independent symptom, namely, “fibrofog” or “dyscognition”).
A cross-sectional study has been conducted to investigate the usefulness of using an internet survey with fibromyalgia patients, in order to obtain information concerning the symptoms and functionality and to identify clinical features that can distinguish patients’ subsets.
During the analysis, an internet website has been used to collect data and fibromyalgia activity score and self-administered pain scale were used as questionnaires. Also, the Hierarchical agglomerative clustering was applied to the data obtained to identify the symptoms and functional-based subgroups. Total of 353 patients (85.3% women) completed the study. The highest scored items after analysis included sleep quality, fatigue/energy, pain, stiffness, degree of tenderness, balance problems and environmental sensitivity. A high proportion of patients reported pain in the neck (81.4%), upper back (70.1%) and lower back (83.2%). These variables were significantly different (p<0.0001) among the three clusters: cluster 1 (117 patients) reflected the lowest average scores across all symptoms, cluster 3 (116 patients) had the highest scores and cluster 2 (120 patients) captured moderate symptom levels with low depression and anxiety.
After the analysis, three sub groups of fibromyalgia samples in a large cohort of patients have been identified by using an internet survey. This approach provided the rationale to support the study of individualized clinical evaluation and may be used to identify the optimal strategies.