The clinical and economic burden of fibromyalgia compared with diabetes mellitus and hypertension among Bedouin women in the Negev
Fam Pract. 2004 Aug;21(4):415-9
Department of Family Medicine, Soroka Medical Center and Faculty of the Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common idiopathic chronic, widespread pain syndrome with tenderness in anatomically defined tender points. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the present study was to describe and characterize the economic and daily work burden of FM compared with diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted in 2001 in a primary care clinic, the Kuseife clinic of the Clalit Health Services. Data for the three study groups were obtained from the computerized database of the Kuseife clinic and the Negev District, Israel. The study group included 102 FM patients. The control groups included 102 diabetes patients and 103 patients with hypertension.
RESULTS: Hospitalization and hospital day care services were the main expenses incurred by patients in this study. There were no differences among the study groups in any cost parameter examined except for the cost of diagnostic tests (P < 0.01), which was less for FM patients. FM patients were referred to specialists and diagnostic procedures more frequently than the control groups. No statistical difference was found in the total number of clinic visits, but FM patients visited physicians more frequently and visited nurses less frequently than patients in the other two groups (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: FM patients consume health care resources to a similar extent to patients with other chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension, but the latter usually receive much more attention from the health care system. Greater awareness of this disorder can improve management and facilitate planning of health care resources, thus improving quality of care.