Quality Of Life For Children With FM

Fibromyalgia is only just beginning to be seen as a real and debilitating medical condition. Now, it seems, we still have a need to convince the world at large, physicians not excluded, that kids can get it, too. The thing is that kids don't get FM the same way as adults. They may have the same symptoms, but onset is a gradual process.

Measuring Impact

As the pediatric form of FM receives more recognition, researchers are struggling to create a system that can serve to evaluate the impact of fibromyalgia on children and adolescents with the condition. The medical community is also striving to determine whether or not the current treatments for pediatric FM are effective. Researchers hope to develop a standard whereby pain, quality of life, level of fatigue, quality of sleep, and physical function can be measured, but until now, only adult standards for the condition have been explored.

Since there is no standard method for evaluating fibromyalgia impact on kids and teens, scientists have substituted a variety of general measures, such as the PedsQL 4.0 (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory), Generic Core Scales, PedsQL Multidimensional Fatigue Scale, and PedsQL Rheumatology Module Pain and Hurt Scale as patient-reported outcome (PRO) measures for kids with FM. Researchers administered the PedsQL Scales to 59 families with kids in the pediatric rheumatology clinic in a children's hospital. The researchers then evaluated the responses and found very few answers had been skipped over and it appeared that these scales were dependable as a method for measuring the impact of the condition on children. Two tests, the PedsQL Generic Core Scales and Multidimensional Fatigue Scale, seemed to highlight major distinctions between kids with FM and healthy kids.

Greater Fatigue

Among the findings of this study, pediatric FM patients reported much lower levels of physical and psychosocial function than pediatric cancer patients undergoing treatment or even those children with other rheumatological diseases. The FM kids also reported greater fatigue than the kids undergoing cancer treatments.

These results suggest that the PedsQL Scales can work well to measure how fibromyalgia is impacting on younger patients. These standard tests also prove that the impairment of pediatric FM patients is more severe than is recognized by the medical community at large. By monitoring FM kids at regular intervals with these standard measures, physicians should be able to assess for those children and adolescents at risk for severe impairment of health-related quality of life. The PedsQL Scales can also serve as a basis for further research and the development of various treatments for the condition.

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