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New Global Survey Exposes Considerable Burden of Fibromyalgia Including Potential Economic Impact
Date:6/13/2008

more days of work over the last year.

Diagnosis Can Take Years

The survey shows that for patients with fibromyalgia, a diagnosis may take years for a number of reasons. Patients in this survey waited an average of 5 months (UK) to 1.5 years (Mexico) to consult a physician about their symptoms because they thought their symptoms would go away or they could manage them on their own. Once patients have consulted a physician, it can take on average, 1.9 to 2.7 years and between 2 and 4 physicians to receive an accurate diagnosis. In Spain, this process was even longer (3.7 years).

"These survey findings are so important because they expose the challenges facing people living with fibromyalgia and validate the tremendous impact of the condition on their lives," says Robert Boelhouwer, President of the European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA). "It is my hope that these new data will prompt a dialogue about steps that can be taken to improve diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia so we can reduce the enormous burden of this chronic pain condition."

Physicians Lack Confidence in Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Contributing to the lengthy process of diagnosis may be physicians' lack of confidence in diagnosing fibromyalgia. Interestingly, this problem was not exclusive to primary care physicians since specialists surveyed also report significant difficulties diagnosing fibromyalgia. In fact, between 16% (Mexico) and 71% (Korea) of all physicians surveyed say they are not very or not at all confident in recognizing symptoms of fibromyalgia. Between 25% (Mexico) and 73% (Korea) of physicians also say they are not very or not at all confident in their ability to differentiate symptoms of fibromyalgia from other conditions. According to the survey, insufficient training of physicians may contribute to the problem. As a result, it was not surprising to see that a significant proportion of physicians in all countries report the condition is
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SOURCE European Network of Fibromyalgia Associations (ENFA)
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