Half of fibromyalgia patients exit workforce: study

Almost half of fibromyalgia patients eventually exit the workforce because of their symptoms, research shows.

The survey of 287 diagnosed patients who were members of the Fibromyalgia Support Network of Western Australia found that 58% of respondents had reduced their work hours and 48% had ceased work because of their symptoms.

Overall 57% of survey respondents reduced or ceased work within 5 years of developing symptoms, while 33% did so before diagnosis, reported the researchers led by rheumatologist Emma Guymer from Monash Health.

Over a third of respondents (35%) reported receiving government and private financial support and one-fifth said they recieved a disability support pension because they were unable to work.

According to the authors the survey indicated a high impact of fibromyalgia symptoms on work ability, often occurring early after symptom onset and often before a diagnosis.

“Further investigation may discern whether early diagnosis and intervention can provide a window of opportunity to prevent work disability in Australians with fibromyalgia,” they said.


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