The prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population

Authors: Wolfe F (1) , Ross K (2) , Anderson J (2) , Russell IJ (3) , Hebert L (4)
(1) University of Kansas (2) Arthritis Research Center (3) University of Texas Health Science Center (4) Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago
Source: Arthritis Rheum. 1995 Jan;38(1):19-28
DOI: 10.1002/art.1780380104 Publication date: 1995 Jan E-Publication date: Dec. 9, 2005 Availability: abstract Copyright: © 1995 American College of Rheumatology
Language: English Countries: Kansas Location: Wichita Correspondence address: F. Wolfe : Arthritis Research and Clinical Centers, 1035 N. Emporia, Suite 230, Wichita, KS 67214


Article abstract


To determine the prevalence and characteristics of fibromyalgia in the general population.


A random sample of 3,006 persons in Wichita, KS, were characterized according to the presence of no pain, non-widespread pain, and widespread pain. A subsample of 391 persons, including 193 with widespread pain, were examined and interviewed in detail.


The prevalence of fibromyalgia was 2.0% (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.4, 2.7) for both sexes, 3.4% (95% CI 2.3, 4.6) for women, and 0.5% (95% CI 0.0, 1.0) for men. The prevalence of the syndrome increased with age, with highest values attained between 60 and 79 years (> 7.0% in women). Demographic, psychological, dolorimetry, and symptom factors were associated with fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia is common in the population, and occurs often in older persons. Characteristic features of fibromyalgia--pain threshold and symptoms--are similar in community and clinic populations, but overall severity, pain, and functional disability are more severe in the clinic population.

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