Fibrocovid: Long Covid can lead to fibromyalgia, a study by the Rizzoli Hospital in Bologna reveals
Fibromyalgia from Long Covid: termed ‘FibroCovid’: among the main risk factors for developing it are male gender and obesity
Fibrocovid: Covid allegedly linked to fibromyalgia
The infection is said to be a predisposing factor in the development of the syndrome, which causes widespread muscle and bone pain and fatigue, among other things.
This is revealed by a study coordinated by the Rheumatology Department of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute in Bologna, recently published in the journal of the scientific society that brings together rheumatologists from all over Europe (RMD Open: Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Diseases).
The starting point for the researchers was “the increasing influx of patients to rheumatology clinics who, after contracting Covid-19 disease, complained of joint symptoms including pain, swelling and stiffness”, Rizzoli explains.
“In our study – states Francesco Ursini, Rizzoli rheumatologist and first author – thanks to a survey conducted on more than 600 people with long-term sequelae of a symptomatic Covid-19 infection, i.e. what is meant by long-Covid, we observed for the first time in the world that about 30% of patients show symptoms compatible with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia even after six months and more from the recovery of the acute infection”.
Covid and fibromyalgia: according to the researchers, who have named this syndrome ‘FibroCovid’, male gender and obesity are among the main risk factors for developing this syndrome
While obesity is a known predisposing factor for fibromyalgia and musculoskeletal diseases in general,” the researchers explain, “men are generally less affected by this condition.
This finding “apparently agrees with the established tendency to develop more severe forms of Covid-19 in males,” says Riccardo Meliconi, director of Rheumatology at the Rizzoli Hospital.
“Therefore, in our interpretation, the development of ‘FibroCovid’ could be linked to particularly severe forms of Covid-19 that affect the musculoskeletal system, the nervous system and the immune system for many months after the primary infection has healed, thus generating the painful symptoms.
Basically, says Ursini, the study by the Bologna-based institute ‘confirms what rheumatologists all over the world are experiencing every day in their surgeries: a significant increase in the number of cases of fibromyalgia, a disease for which, unfortunately, there are still few therapeutic options’.
The goal in the near future “will be to follow these patients over time to assess whether the course of the disease is self-limiting, as is usually the case in post-viral diseases, or whether it tends to become chronic as in primary fibromyalgia”, explains the specialist.
“In addition, we plan to launch a rehabilitation programme dedicated to these patients, based on techniques of adapted physical activity, in collaboration with the research group coordinated by Maria Grazia Benedetti, director of the Rizzoli Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit”.
The Universities of L’Aquila and Turin and the Campus Biomedico in Rome also contributed to the research.