Facts About Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is often referred to as a mysterious disease Little was known about it and it was and still is difficult to diagnoseFibromyalgia is often referred to as a mysterious disease. Little was known about it and it was and still is difficult to diagnose. Now it is categorized as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) rather than a disease. It has many, many symptoms. Some of the symptoms, such as restless legs syndrome, are also separate disorders that can occur but not be associated with fibromyalgia. Due to the varied symptoms that can also indicate another illness, fibromyalgia is very difficult to diagnose.
There is no specific clinical test that can be used to definitely identify the presence of the syndrome.
However, the most common symptom is widespread pain throughout the entire body accompanied by pain at the tender points of the body. For this reason, the American College of Rheumatology has established two criteria for diagnosing figromyalgia. These are widespread pain all over the body that has lasted three months or more, and pain at eleven of the eighteen tender points in the body. The pain at the tender points is considered the most significant indicator of fibromyalgia.
Symptoms that almost always accompany the pain are fatigue, problems with memory, and sleep disorders. The patient is consistently tired and the smallest task seems impossible. They may have difficulty remembering new information. They definitely have a problem with this if they are distracted. This condition is called "fibro fog." Patients have difficulty gong to sleep as well as staying asleep. Other symptoms that may be present are heart palpitations, numbness and tingling sensations, nasal congestion, dizziness, sweating, muscle weakness and balance problems. Some conditions that may co-exist with the syndrome are depression, headaches, bowel problems, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis.
Although the symptoms are chronic, the intensity of them will vary from day to day and from hour to hour in any one day. This makes it difficult for patients to maintain a normal schedule, hold down a job and enjoy a social life. They can''t plan an activity, as they can''t predict whether they will be able to carry it out or not. The pain can sometimes be so excruciating that the person is unable to engage in any activity. This pain affects all the parts of the body. Every muscle, joint and tendon aches. Changes in weather, stress or over-exertion can trigger more pain.
Approximately three to five percent of the American population suffers from fibromyalgia. It can occur in all age groups at any time but is more likely to appear during early and middle adulthood. It is not gender specific although it occurs more often in women than in men. Genetics may play a role, as the syndrome tends to run in families. People who already have a rheumatic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are also considered to be at greater risk for fibromyalgia. About twenty-five percent of the people who are diagnosed with it are too disabled to work. Treatment has also been difficult. It wasn''t until 2007 that the FDA approved the first drug, Lyrica, for treatment of the syndrome. Now there are more medications available. Neurotin has sometimes been successful and Vioxx has also been prescribed for pain relief. Prozac and Elavil have also been effective at relieving the symptoms.