ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
CANCER
Many Ignore Symptoms of Bladder Trouble
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Drink a Little Wine, Live a Little Longer
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Gas Cooking Might Up Your Cancer Risk
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Football Can Shrink Players
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Go To Work But Skip The Car
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
Positive Brain Changes Seen After Body-Mind Meditation
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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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