ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Scientists Discover How Osteoarthritis Destroys Cartilage
Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
CANCER
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
Green Tea Compound Slowed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
CAREGIVING
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
For Dialysis Patients, More Pills = Lower Quality of Life
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Grapefruit-Heavy Diet Helped Spur Dangerous Clot
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Eating your way to Good Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Protein Might One Day Prevent Blindness
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
FITNESS
Marathoners Go the Distance on Heart Health
Run for Your Life
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
The Brain Comes Alive With the Sounds of Music
Food and Water Supply Poisoned by Perchlorate
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
More Steps a Day Lead to Better Health
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Protect Your Kids From Swine Flu While at Camp
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
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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