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Arshad A, Kong KO
Correspondence: Dr Anwar Arshad, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a common but controversial condition. There appears to be different levels of belief of its existence and awareness. We set out to explore the variations of perceptions and awareness of this condition among rheumatologists from Malaysia and Singapore.
Methods 48 rheumatologists from Malaysia (28) and Singapore (20) were approached to participate in this survey by answering a specific questionnaire regarding their belief in FMS. 23 respondents from Malaysia and 20 from Singapore completed the questionnaire.
Results 91 percent of Malaysian rheumatologists and 95 percent of the Singaporean believe that FMS is a distinct clinical entity and that this condition is considered an illness rather than a disease. 87 percent and 90 percent of rheumatologists from Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, believe that FMS is a mixture of medical and psychological illness. However, not many of those in the university setting include FMS in their undergraduate teaching. 87 percent and 80 percent of the respondents from Malaysia and Singapore, respectively, also ordered blood tests to exclude other serious pathologies, and 100 percent of the respondents from both countries also prescribed some form of drugs to their FMS patients.
Conclusion This study confirmed that there was a variation of perceptions and knowledge of FMS among rheumatologists from Malaysia and Singapore. The majority of rheumatologists recognise that FMS is a distinct clinical entity, and is diagnosed by excluding other well-defined clinical diseases through a combination of clinical evaluation and screening tests.
Keywords: fibromyalgia syndrome, musculoskeletal disease, rheumatological disease, rheumatologist survey
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(1): 25–30