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Facts about Fibromyalgia

Updated on December 28, 2012

Fibromyalgia: some facts

Fibromyalgia is a condition associated with chronic pain and uneasiness which is felt throughout the body. Sufferers compare the pain they experience to an extreme case of rheumatism or arthritis, though there are no swelling involved. Pain is commonly felt at the joints as with arthritis.

Sleep deprivation, insomnia and other sleep disorders can last weeks on end which can exact a huge toll not only to the physical health of the individual, but also to the emotional and mental health as well.

Fibromyalgia is an ailment which can debilitate a person completely and can in the end cause depression. It is important to consider the facts concerning Fibromyalgia in order to effectively combat this ailment. What is the cause of this ailment, what are the signs of the condition, who can be affected and what are the possible natural preventive measures, cures or treatments available.

Types of Fibromyalgia

As of today, medical science has still yet to unravel the precise cause of Fibromyalgia. Though there are many theories on the main cause of this syndrome, none is presently accepted. However, there are causes observed by researchers that lead to the development of Fibromyalgia on a person. Fibromyalgia is categorized into two main types, the primary and secondary type. The primary type of fibromyalgia is the most common. These are the causes of this type.

Causes of Primary Fibromyalgia


Geneticreasons

Evidence points out that Fibromyalgia can be inherited. According to researchers, people born into families with cases of Fibromyalgia have a higher risk of developing the ailment. Though further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis, there is a high level of accuracy as most cases of fibromyalgia points out a relative within the family that also has the condition.

Incessant Stress

Though stress does not completely induce the development of Fibromyalgia in people, it can definitely increase the rapid development of this ailment. It has been observed that people under excessive and constant stress can develop problems in the Hypothalamus, Pituitary and Adrenal regions of the brain. The damage on these regions can lead to the development of Fibromyalgia. Damage to the Hippocampus of the brain due to the abnormal metabolic rate of the body caused by stress can occur which can result also in the development of the syndrome Damage in the Hippocampus can incur sleep disruptions, cognitive responses and even pain receptions.

Low levels of Serotonin

Another possible cause of Fibromyalgia is the lowering levels of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for the regulation of mood, pain, concentration and patterns of sleep. This hypothesis was constructed due to the observations done in the 1970s on the possible causes of Fibromyalgia, once called Fibrositis. Though the theory has not yet been proven, many have actually observed the seeming connection of Serotonin on the development of Fibromyalgia.

Low levels of Melatonin

Similar to the effects of Serotonin, Melatonin levels also has a considerable factor on the percentage of a person to develop Fibromyalgia. This hormone is naturally produced by the brain’s Pineal gland. It is responsible for the sleep rhythm of the body. Low levels of Melatonin result in sleep deprivation and insomnia which are commonalities in those with FMS.

This is probably one of the most horrendous symptom patients of this ailment suffer. According to the UMMC (University of Maryland Medical Center), Melatonin is one of the major factors that regulate sleep and the absence of it will cause irreparable harm to the body. Fibromyalgia patients have been observed to have low levels of this hormone, which causes the sleep disorders they experience.

These are some of the main hypothesis on the causes of Fibromyalgia. Though none can be considered as the main cause of Fibromyalgia, continuous research are being done in order to better understand the causes of this ailment and hopefully find better treatments or even a possible cure for this debilitating syndrome.

Causes of Secondary Fibromyalgia

The Secondary type of Fibromyalgia has been observed to be induced by conditions such as physical injuries, arthritic affliction of the spine, Lyme disease, Endometriosis and Hepatitis C, though still under research.


Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

As fibromyalgia is a medical ailments experienced by people, there are symptoms that can be seen in order to confirm whether one is afflicted by this debilitating ailments. These are that symptoms of Fibromyalgia. As Fibromyalgia is considered a syndrome, which is a medical condition defined by a set of symptoms that affect a person simultaneously, it is better to better understand these symptoms fully so that one can seek medical aid immediately on its onset.

Musclepain

This may be the most prevalent symptom Fibromyalgia suffers experience. Many patients describe these pains as crippling and disruptive. Many describe the pain as similar to a severe attack of arthritis or rheumatism. People suffering from Fibromyalgia will suffer considerably mainly due to muscle pains that can effectively disrupt people’s lives. Relief from the muscular and skeletal pain associated with Fibromyalgia is one of the most sought after medication and many are pouring thousands of dollars for such medication.


What Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Fibromyalgia causes you to ache all over. You may have symptoms of crippling fatigue -- even on arising. Specific tender points on the body may be painful to touch. You may experience swelling, disturbances in deep-level or restful sleep, and mood disturbances or depression.

Your muscles may feel like they have been overworked or pulled. They'll feel that way even without exercise or another cause. Sometimes, your muscles twitch, burn, or have deep stabbing pain.

Some patients with fibromyalgia have pain and achiness around the joints in the neck, shoulder, back, and hips. This makes it difficult for them to sleep or exercise. Other fibromyalgia symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Chronic headaches
  • Difficulty maintaining sleep or light sleep
  • Dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Fatigue upon arising
  • Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
  • Inability to concentrate (called "fibro fog")
  • Incontinence
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
  • Stiffness

Fibromyalgia can cause signs and feelings similar to osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. Some experts include it in this group of arthritis and related disorders. However, while the pain of bursitis or tendinitis is localized to a specific area, pain and stiffness with fibromyalgia are widespread.


What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Fibromyalgia?

There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose fibromyalgia. To make an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will rely on a comprehensive physical exam and your medical history. Fibromyalgia is mostly a diagnosis of exclusion. That means the doctor will rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms.

To rule out more serious illnesses, your doctor may run some specific blood tests. For example, your doctor may ask for a complete blood count (CBC). The doctor may also ask for tests for chemicals, such as glucose, that can create problems similar to problems caused by fibromyalgia. A thyroid test may also be done. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause problems similar to fibromyalgia. That includes fatigue, muscle aches, weakness, and depression.

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      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Really good info here on a baffling disease. Once diagnosed with this life insurance or long term care insurance is problematical at best.

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