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Abstract

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

Methods. 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.

Results. 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.

Conclusion. 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.