Fibromyalgia is an arthritis-related, chronic syndrome. A “syndrome” describes a “collection of symptoms”. if you have symptoms and signs that indicate fibromyalgia or you have received a positive diagnosis, there are a few facts you need to know about this condition. Also if you know someone who suffers from the disease you may want to inspire them by showing them people with inspiring stories like Amy Conachan as some people with the sickness lack motivation.
It is Mainly Characterized By Widespread Tenderness And Muscle Pain
Fibromyalgia won’t cause damage or inflammation to the muscles, joints, or any other tissues. This is why it is not one of the joint diseases, but it is still arthritis-related. In the year 1990, the American College of Rheumatology established the criteria that classified fibromyalgia for the purpose of research studies:
Widespread pain affects all 4 of the quadrants of a person’s body. For example, above the person’s waist and each side of their body, or below the waist but also each side of the body. The widespread pain has also persisted for 3 months (or more).
The person experiences pain at 11 of the 18 tender-point sites.
It Could Be A Secondary Or Primary Condition
Fibromyalgia can either occur as the primary syndrome and will be characterized by pain in the muscles or as a secondary syndrome to another rheumatic disease. It is also possible for a person to have fibromyalgia syndrome along with another type of rheumatic disease.
People with ankylosing spondylitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or rheumatoid arthritis, are at an increased risk when it comes to developing fibromyalgia syndrome. These patients might wonder whether they are experiencing symptoms that are common to both conditions ( for example, overlapping symptoms) or whether they have two different conditions.
Fibromyalgia Often Goes Undiagnosed
This disease is very commonly misunderstood, and the symptoms go unrecognized, which can cause this syndrome to go undiagnosed for many months or even years.
The symptoms relating to fibromyalgia are frequently confused with the symptoms that are commonly linked to other conditions. Fibromyalgia symptoms often overlap or mimic symptoms linked to other types of rheumatic diseases. The National Fibromyalgia Association states that it typically takes around 5 years to obtain a precise diagnosis for this condition.
90% Of Patients Suffer From A Sleep Disorder Or Severe Fatigue
Sleep problems and severe fatigue are some of the main characteristics of fibromyalgia. Therefore, issues that start developing due to poor sleep which is also known as “non-restorative sleep”, can also be problematic (i.e., memory lapses, lack of energy, and cognitive problems).
Fibromyalgia Also Has Additional Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a condition linked to other symptoms that may appear distinct in themselves, but are rather included in what is known as fibromyalgia syndrome.
In addition to fatigue, tenderness, and muscular pain, people with fibromyalgia can also experience:
- Irritable bowel or bladder
- Pelvic pain
- Memory problems
- Restless leg syndrome
- Noise sensitivity
- Temporomandibular joint disorder
- Temperature sensitivity
- Panic and anxiety disorders
There Are Also Psychological Aspects To This Syndrome
In a study that involved 307 patients that were evaluated over a period of 11 years (reported at an American College of Rheumatology meeting by Yunus and colleagues), one-third of these patients experienced severe physical and severe psychological problems. Another third experienced moderate physical problems and mild psychological issues. While the remaining third experienced milder physical symptoms by moderate psychological symptoms.
Symptoms Can Be Different For Different People
Since there are so many variables when it comes to fibromyalgia, this syndrome doesn’t display itself in an identical way in every patient.
Since each fibromyalgia patient experiences different symptoms, there might be “subtypes” of this condition that might still be discovered and this would impact treatment choices. Until the exact cause of this condition is determined, the variability of the symptoms will remain a puzzle.
There Are No Definitive Diagnostic Tests
Diagnosing fibromyalgia involves focusing on tender points and symptoms, but there are no definitive diagnostic tests for the condition, such as an X-ray or blood test.
The diagnosis is based solely on symptoms that are found or presented during physical examinations. If the doctor does order other tests, this is usually to exclude other conditions or to study the symptoms further.