ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effects
No Verdict Yet on Grape Seed Extract vs. Breast Cancer
Yoga May Bring Calm to Breast Cancer Treatment
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Smoking Exposure Now Linked to Colon, Breast Cancers
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Health Tip: After Liposuction
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
DIABETES
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
DIET, NUTRITION
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Holiday Eating Without the Guilt -- or the Pounds
Go Healthy, Not Hungry for Holiday Eating
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Old-Growth Forests Dying Off in U.S. West
Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
FITNESS
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Internet Program Helps Problem Drinkers
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleep and Do Better
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay

Women who are overweight or obese appear to have an increased risk of developing the chronic pain syndrome known as fibromyalgia, a new study suggests.

If they are also sedentary, the risk is even greater, said lead researcher Paul Mork, of Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.

The study is published in the May issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Fibromyalgia is marked by widespread pain lasting more than three months. The pain strikes so-called "tender points" in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs.

The condition is also marked by fatigue without apparent cause, mood disturbances, sleep problems and headaches. More women than men have it, and experts don't thoroughly understand its cause.

The condition may be due to dysfunction in the nervous system and other problems, and it is thought to be affected by genetic susceptibility.

In the new study, Mork and his colleagues turned to a data base of nearly 16,000 women in Norway who had responded to health surveys. Among the participants were 380 who developed fibromyalgia during the 11-year follow-up.

Mork's team compared the data from patients with the healthy respondents, including body-mass index (BMI) and exercise habits.

Exercise and a healthy body weight were found to be protective.

"According to previous findings reported in the literature, we expected that regular leisure-time physical exercise would have a protective effect on future development of fibromyalgia [FM]," Mork said. "However, we only found a weak association between development of FM and exercise. However, it should be noted that we were not able to differ between different types of exercise, and it might be possible that some exercise types are more beneficial than others in protecting against future development of FM," he added.

"Women who reported exercising four times per week [or more] had a 29 percent lower risk of fibromyalgia compared with inactive women," Mork said in a news release about the study.

Those who exercised two to three times a week were about 11 percent less likely to get fibromyalgia.

Being overweight -- with a BMI of 25 or higher -- was a strong independent risk factor, with the heavier women having a 60 percent to 70 percent higher risk of developing the condition compared to the healthy weight women.

The overweight women who exercised an hour or more a week, however, were less likely to get the condition than were overweight women who were inactive.

Mork's advice: Regular exercise, which can help maintain weight, may serve as a "buffer" against the symptoms that eventually lead to fibromyalgia.

The results are entirely plausible, said Dr. Patrick Wood, senior medical adviser for the National Fibromyalgia Association, who cares for many fibromyalgia patients.

But with the condition, there are often the chicken-egg questions, he added, such as whether the pain leads to the inactivity or weight gain or vice versa. "It's difficult with any level of assurance to know what's driving what," Wood said. There could be underlying factors driving both excess weight and pain sensitivity, he noted.

The inflammation that is associated with obesity may heighten pain sensitivity, Wood added.

More study is needed, Wood said. Until more is known, however, he would advise people who want to avoid the condition to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. That's especially wise for those with a family history of fibromyalgia, he stressed, because he has found that it does tend to run in families.

For those already diagnosed with the condition, Wood said, "some data show if you exercise and keep your weight down you may have less pain."

SOURCES: Patrick Wood, M.D., senior medical advisor, National Fibromyalgia Association, and family medicine physician, Renton, Wash.; Paul Mork, D.Phil., Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway; May 2010, Arthritis Care & Research Published on: April 29, 2010