Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome do not become crippled with the condition, nor is there any evidence it effects the duration of their expected life span. For many, there is a decrease in symptoms over time. Nevertheless, due to varying levels of pain and fatigue, there is an inevitable contraction of social, vocational and avocational activities which leads to a reduced quality of life.
Long term follow up of fibromyalgia patients has shown that it is very unusual for them to develop another rheumatic disease or neurological condition, such as multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. However, it is quite common for patients with "well established" rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus and Sjogren's syndrome to also have fibromyalgia.
Seven to ten million Americans suffer from FMS. It affects women much more than men in an approximate ratio of 20:1. It is seen in all age groups from young children through old age, although in most patients the problem begins during their 20s or 30s. It can run in families. Recent studies have shown that fibromyalgia syndrome occurs worldwide and has no specific ethnic predisposition.
2. Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are one in the same.