Fibromyalgia is rather interesting and often ignored – just what is it?
Fibromyalgia (or FM) is one of those curious cases in medical science where it is diagnosed through it not being anything else. Because the condition has no definitely known causes, and its symptoms are all seen in other conditions, doctors basically go through other things which they can diagnose for certain first, and if all those tests are negative, it is likely that the patient has fibromyalgia. Sometimes a process of elimination really is the only way forward.
The most common feature of fibromyalgia is widespread pain, or higher sensitivity to pressure or stimuli, meaning pain is felt more easily. Many sufferers also report having sleeping problems. Alongside this, there are numerous other symptoms including muscle spasms, pins and needles, bowel problems and a whole load of other not too fun things to have happen to your body. As these can all be symptoms of other illnesses, this is why doctors have to eliminate those first before diagnosing FM.
The condition is linked to depression and other mental health conditions, with sufferers claiming to have cloudy minds and poor memory. This has led to a theory that the defect which potentially causes fibromyalgia is linked to the genes which cause the defects that lead to mental health conditions such as depression. Fibromyalgia is also linked to irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome. Therefore, experts believe that stress can lead to its onset in those who are susceptible to it. This is because stress is known to cause the onset of these conditions too.
As fibromyalgia has no medically accepted cause, it has no official cure. However, there are methods of managing the condition which are available. These can range from lifestyle guidelines to prescribed medication (usually antidepressants).
Perhaps, as research continues, there will eventually be a known cause of fibromyalgia, and patients will be able to know for sure whether or not they’ve got the condition. Because at the minute the diagnostic process is (quite literally) an absolute pain.
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