Fibromyalgia, a painful musculoskeletal disorder is associated with sleep disturbances as well as autonomic dysfunction. Pathophysiology of fibromyalgia is yet not clear and neuroanatomical proximity of sleep and autonomic centre prompts probable involvement of the two impacting the quality of life of fibromyalgia patients. Present study was done with the objective to explore the extent of sleep disturbances and/or autonomic dysfunction in fibromyalgia and asses their impact on quality of life of fibromyalgia patients.
Thirty consecutive fibromyalgia patients (diagnosed by ACR 2010) from out-patient department and 30 age-gender matched controls were enrolled after the ethical clearance. All participants were evaluated for: (1) sleep using Pittsburgh sleep quality index and medical outcomes study sleep scale-12 Revised, (2) Quality of life by 36 item short-form health survey-36v2TM and revised fibromyalgia impact questionnaire (only patients). Autonomic functions of patients were evaluated by standard cardiovascular autonomic function tests by Ewing’s battery and heart rate variability (5-min) measurement.
Fibromyalgia patients had increased sleep disturbances compared to controls (39.46 ± 11, 59.61 ± 2.31; p=0.0001) and very poor sleep quality (13.63 ± 4.15, 3.03 ± 1.56; p=0.0001) as well as quality of life (p=0.0001) which further deteriorated with increasing severity of fibromyalgia. Twelve patients had autonomic dysfunction but it was neither associated with sleep disturbances nor with quality of life.
Mild to moderate grade fibromyalgia patients have significant sleep disturbance, poor sleep quality which remarkably impacts their quality of life. Autonomic dysfunction is not an early feature of disease. The study suggests that full spectrum of sleep disturbances and sleep quality should be explored in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) patients.

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