Fibro Facts, our newest series on Inspired Living with Fibromyalgia, is a series of illustrated facts about Fibromyalgia. The goal is to help increase awareness and understanding for the millions of people living with Fibromyalgia throughout the world and to help people recently diagnosed learn a bit more about Fibromyalgia!
Fibro Fact #7: For Fibromyalgia diagnosis, Symptom Severity Score (SS) must be at least 5 or 9, depending on WPI
When the American College of Rheumatology updated the Fibromyalgia diagnosis criteria in 2010, two new components were added. The Widespread Pain Index (WPI), which we posted about a few days ago and you can click on to learn more, and the Symptom Severity Score (SS), which is the focus of this post.
The Symptom Severity Score takes into account the level of difficulty caused by the three main symptoms (excluding pain which is measured in the WPI) of Fibromyalgia, which are Fatigue, Waking Unrefreshed, and Cognitive Symptoms and then looks at how many other symptoms are present
For the three symptoms of Fatigue, Waking Unrefreshed, and Cognitive Symptoms, an individual is asked to rank the severity of each symptom individually as level 0, 1, 2 , or 3.
Here is a quick look at the ranking criteria:
0 = Not a problem at all
1 = Slight or Mild Problems, generally mild or intermittent
2 = Moderate; considerable problems, often present and/or at a moderate level
3 = Severe; pervasive, continuous, life disturbing problems
Each of the three symptoms of Fatigue, Waking Unrefreshed, and Cognitive Symptoms will achieve points based on the scale above. So you can have a score of anywhere between 0 (no issues with these three symptoms) and 9 (severe issues with all three symptoms) or somewhere in between. The vast majority of Fibromyalgia patients range somewhere in between the 0 and 9. For instance, if you have moderate fatigue =2, moderate Waking Unrefreshed = 2, and severe Cognitive Issues = 3, then your SS Score would be 7.
The second part of the Symptom Severity Score takes into account how many of specific symptoms you have experienced over the last week. Below is a list of the symptoms considered in part 2 of the Symptom Severity Score:
Irritable bowel syndrome
Thinking or remembering problem
Pain/cramps in abdomen
Pain in upper abdomen
Ringing in ears
Loss/change in taste
Shortness of breath
Loss of appetite
The score for these symptoms is determined by the number of the symptoms you had. The maximum amount of points for these symptoms is 3 total. Basically, the scoring for this section goes as follows:
0 = No symptoms
1 = Few symptoms (1-10)
2 = A moderate number (11-24)
3 = A great deal of symptoms (25 or more)
So the total points possible utilizing both sections of the Symptom Severity Score is 12. In order to have Fibromyalgia, your SS score must be at least 5 with a WPI score of at least 7 OR the SS score must be at least 9 with a WPI of 3-6.
If you are interested in learning more about the WPI Index and SS Score, then I suggest looking at the following PDF entitled New Fibro Criteria Survey 2010. This survey was created by the Fibromyalgia Network and is intended to help with diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. It is very important to understand that people can NOT diagnose themselves with Fibromyalgia, you need a physician, rheumatologist, or neurologist who understands the criteria to actually make the diagnosis and it takes time.