FibroCOVID: Long Covid can lead to fibromyalgia

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  • > Among patients who developed post-acute COVID-19(PACS) so-called “long COVID” – almost one-third reported clinical features of fibromyalgia
  • > Study suggests that up to 30% of patients with PACS may satisfy criteria for fibromyalgia.
  • > Obesity and male gender represent the strongest risk factors for post-COVID-19 fibromyalgia(FibroCOVID).
  • > “FibroCOVID” – An emerging entity

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Most people who fall sick with COVID-19 will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without special treatment. SARS-CoV-2 may cause post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS). PACS is characterized by a large number of symptoms including musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, and sleep disturbances. Coronavirus outbreak are causing lots of difficulties for the people with chronic illnesses.

In a recent study published in the RMD Open journal, researchers investigated the prevalence and predictors of fibromyalgia(FibroCovid) in patients who recovered from COVID-19. Moreover, researchers also investigated the potential contribution of covid as predisposing factor in the fibromyalgia development as they observe sharp rise of cases in rheumatology clinics with complains of joint symptoms, pain, swelling and stiffness.

Based on research findings, authors conclude that clinical features of patients who recovered from COVID-19 are common in patients with fibromyalgia. Particulary obese and male patients are at much higher rich of developing the FibroCOVID (Post-covid fibromyalgia).

Fibromyalgia is a common rheumatological syndrome in the population and is characterised by widespread musculoskeletal pain along with many other symptoms such as chronic fatigue, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal disorders or cognitive impairments (memory, concentration). A brief list of fibromalgia symptoms are enlisted here. It may be accompanied with other ailments such as difficulties with memory and concentration, also known as brain fog, anxiety, headache, numbness in hands and feet, irritable bowel syndrome and more.

Also Read:
> 10 Measures People with Fibromyalgia Should take in this COVID-19 Epidemic
> How Fibromyalgia Affects Men

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Original Research : Fibromyalgia: a new facet of the post-COVID-19 syndrome spectrum

A study coordinated by the Medicine and Rheumatology Unit of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute, directed by Professor Riccardo Meliconi, with Professor Francesco Ursini, Associate Professor of Rheumatology at the Institute, as first author, was recently published in the journal of the scientific society that brings together rheumatologists from all over Europe (RMD Open: Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases).


Objective Postacute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS) is an emerging entity characterised by a large array of manifestations, including musculoskeletal complaints, fatigue and cognitive or sleep disturbances. Since similar symptoms are present also in patients with fibromyalgia (FM), we decided to perform a web-based cross-sectional survey aimed at investigating the prevalence and predictors of FM in patients who recovered from COVID-19.

Methods Data were anonymously collected between 5 and 18 April 2021. The collection form consisted of 28 questions gathering demographic information, features and duration of acute COVID-19, comorbid diseases, and other individual’s attributes such as height and weight. The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) Survey Criteria and the Italian version of the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire completed the survey.

Results A final sample of 616 individuals (77.4% women) filled the form 6±3 months after the COVID-19 diagnosis. Of these, 189 (30.7%) satisfied the ACR survey criteria for FM (56.6% women). A multivariate logistic regression model including demographic and clinical factors showed that male gender (OR: 9.95, 95% CI 6.02 to 16.43, p<0.0001) and obesity (OR: 41.20, 95% CI 18.00 to 98.88, p<0.0001) were the strongest predictors of being classified as having post-COVID-19 FM. Hospital admission rate was significantly higher in men (15.8% vs 9.2%, p=0.001) and obese (19.2 vs 10.8%, p=0.016) respondents.

Conclusion: Their data suggest that clinical features of FM are common in patients who recovered from COVID-19 and that obesity and male gender affect the risk of developing post-COVID-19 FM which can also be termed as FibroCOVID.

Study Reference: Ursini F, Ciaffi J, Mancarella L, et alFibromyalgia: a new facet of the post-COVID-19 syndrome spectrum? Results from a web-based surveyRMD Open 2021;7:e001735. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001735. RMD Open journal

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