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Issue 26 Synovium (Spring 2009)
A prospective cohort study examined causes of mortality in 4515 patients who had participated in a population study of musculoskeletal pain occurrence in 1996. Reported pain status in 1996 was compared with subsequent mortality and expressed in mortality rate ratios. In the 35.2% of patients reporting regional pain there was a 20% increased risk of dying in the intervening 12 years. In the 16.9% of patients with a diagnosis of chronic widespread pain the increased mortality was 30%. Excess mortality was due to cardiovascular disease and cancers. The risk of mortality increased in proportion to the number of pain sites reported. Why should this be? The patients' lifestyles perhaps? We need to know the answer.