Health-related quality of life in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: an Australian cross-sectional study, by N Eaton-Fitch, SC Johnston, P Zalewski, D Staines & S Marshall-Gradisnik in Quality of Life Research, 22 January 2020


Research abstract:

Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a serious and debilitating disorder associated with significant disruptions in daily life including. This study aimed to examine the impact of sociodemographic and patient symptom characteristics on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of Australians with ME/CFS.

Self-reported data collected from 480 individuals diagnosed with ME/CFS were obtained between August 2014 and August 2018. This cross-sectional survey analysed sociodemographic, symptom characteristics and HRQoL according to the 36-Item Health Survey (SF-36). Multivariate linear regression models were used to determine ME/CFS symptoms associated with eight domains of HRQoL.

Reported HRQoL was significantly impaired in ME/CFS patients across all domains compared with the general population. Scores were the lowest for physical role (4.11 ± 15.07) and energy/fatigue (13.54 ± 13.94). Associations with females, higher body mass index (BMI), employment status, cognitive difficulties, sensory disturbances and cardiovascular symptoms were observed in the physical functioning domain. Impaired pain domain scores were associated with high BMI, annual visits to their general practitioner, flu-like symptoms and fluctuations in body temperature. Reduced well-being scores were associated with smoking status, psychiatric comorbidity, cognitive difficulties, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal difficulties.

This study provides evidence that ME/CFS has a profound and negative impact on HRQoL in an Australian cohort.

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