Fibromyalgia – What You Should Know!

Fibromyalgia is considered a chronic syndrome related to arthritis. If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with symptoms of fibromyalgia, here are some basic facts that you should know about the illness.

Muscle Pain & Tenderness!

You may already know this from a documentary about fibromyalgia but the condition is primarily characterized by muscle tenderness and pain. Even though fibromyalgia is not a joint disease, it’s arthritis-related. The condition doesn’t cause damage or inflammation to the joints, muscles, and other tissues. The American College of Rheumatology decided to establish criteria in order to classify the condition for research studies in 1990:

  • The patient should have a history of widespread pain in all 4 quadrants of the body including below the waist on the two sides of the body and above the waist on the two sides of the body for 3 months or more to be considered a fibromyalgia patient.
  • Pain at more than 11 of the 18 tender point sites in the body.

Fibromyalgia Can Be A Primary Or Secondary Condition!

The condition can occur as a primary syndrome with muscle pain or as a secondary syndrome to other rheumatic diseases. In fact, the patient can have fibromyalgia as well as another rheumatic disease. Patients who are currently suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or rheumatoid arthritis are usually at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia syndrome. These patients may have overlapping symptoms or two distinct conditions after all.

Fibromyalgia Often Goes Undiagnosed!

The symptoms of the condition are most often unrecognized since the illness is often misunderstood. It causes the symptoms to remain undiagnosed for months or even years. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are most often confused with symptoms that are linked to another condition. The symptoms of the condition can mimic or overlap the symptoms associated with a different kind of rheumatic disease. The National Fibromyalgia Association states that it can take up to five years to accurately diagnose the condition.

90% Of Fibromyalgia Patients Suffer From Sleep Disorders Or Severe Fatigue!

Sleep disorder and severe fatigue are some of the characteristics associated with the condition. The patient may develop problems due to poor sleep or non-restorative sleep including cognitive issues, lack of energy, memory lapses, and more.

There Are Additional Symptoms!

Fibromyalgia seems to have additional symptoms other than muscle pain and tenderness. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Irritable bladder or bowel
  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Pelvic pain
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Noise sensitivity
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Anxiety and panic disorders
  • Depression

There Are Also Psychological Aspects To The Syndrome!

307 patients suffering from fibromyalgia were evaluated over an 11-year period by a team at the American College of Rheumatology. More than one-third of these patients suffered from severe physical and psychological issues while another one-third suffered from mild psychological and moderate physical issues. The final one-third had mild physical symptoms and moderate psychological symptoms.

Symptoms Can Be Different For Different People!

The symptoms of the syndrome are not identical in all patients. In fact, there is so much variability in fibromyalgia. There are subtypes of fibromyalgia that could be discovered later and should influence treatment choices. The variability of symptoms may remain a part of the puzzle until the cause of fibromyalgia is diagnosed.

There Is No Definitive Diagnostic Test!

There isn’t a definitive diagnostic test for fibromyalgia though the diagnosis of the condition may focus on symptoms and tender points. Diagnosing the condition is solely based on symptoms that are found during a physical examination. But diagnostic tests can be ordered to find out more about the symptoms or rule out other conditions.

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