Fibromyalgia is a chronic syndrome associated with arthritis. A syndrome is a set of symptoms. If you have been diagnosed or have early symptoms of fibromyalgia, here are 10 basic facts that you should know about the condition.
1. Fibromyalgia is characterized primarily by generalized muscle pain and tenderness
Fibromyalgia does not cause inflammation or damage to joints, muscles or other tissues. Therefore, it is not a disease of the joints, but it is related to arthritis.
In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology established criteria for classifying fibromyalgia for research studies:
A history of generalized pain in the four quadrants of the body (for example, above the waist on both sides of the body, below the waist on both sides of the body) for three months or more.
Pain in 11 of 18 sensitive spot sites
2. Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary or secondary condition
Fibromyalgia can occur as a primary syndrome characterized by muscle pain or as a secondary syndrome to other rheumatic diseases. It is possible to have fibromyalgia syndrome, along with another rheumatic disease.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, or ankylosing spondylitis are at increased risk of developing fibromyalgia syndrome. These patients may wonder if they have symptoms that are common to two conditions (that is, overlapping symptoms) or whether they actually have two different conditions.
3. Early symptoms of fibromyalgia are often not recognized
To the extent that the syndrome remains undiagnosed for months, even years. Early symptoms of fibromyalgia are often confused with symptoms typically linked to other conditions. Such symptoms may mimic or overlap the symptoms associated with different rheumatic diseases. It takes about 5 years on average to get an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
4. Ninety percent of patients with fibromyalgia suffer from severe fatigue or sleep disorders
Fatigue and sleep problems are one of the main features associated with fibromyalgia. Therefore, problems that occur because of poor sleep or unrefreshing sleep are also problematic.
That is, they can cause:
Lack of energy.
5. Fibromyalgia is associated with additional symptoms that look different but actually included in fibromyalgia syndrome
Apart from muscle pain, fatigue and tenderness, patients with fibromyalgia may also experience:
Bladder or irritable bowel
Disorders of the temporomandibular joint
Sensitivity to temperature
Restless Leg Syndrome
6. There are psychological as well as physical aspects associated with fibromyalgia
In a study of 307 patients evaluated over a 11-year period, one-third of the patients had severe physical problems as well as serious psychological problems. One third had moderate physical and moderate physical problems. Another third had moderate psychological symptoms with mild physical symptoms.
7. Because there is so much variability in fibromyalgia, the syndrome does not manifest itself identically in all patients
Not all fibromyalgia patients experience the same symptoms! Hence, there may be subtypes of fibromyalgia that can be discovered later, with influence on treatment options. Until the cause of fibromyalgia is determined, the variability of symptoms will continue to be part of the puzzle.
8. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia focuses on symptoms and soft spots
Unfortunately, there is no definitive diagnostic test for fibromyalgia, such as a blood test or an X-ray. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is based solely on the symptoms that occur and are found during physical examinations. When ordering diagnostic tests, it is to rule out other conditions or find out more about other symptoms.
9. Drug and non-drug treatments are used to control fibromyalgia
Medications are used to treat pain, improve sleep, and control depression and anxiety. The doctor can determine what to prescribe based on the symptoms detected. Alternative treatments that focus on pain relief and stress relief also benefit many patients with fibromyalgia.
10. Fibromyalgia affects more women than men
The prevalence of fibromyalgia is between 2 and 4 percent of the population. Statistics show that the prevalence of fibromyalgia is the majority in the female population. However, they do not reveal how many people live well with fibromyalgia and have managed to successfully treat the syndrome to the degree of maintaining a good quality of life.
It is important to obtain an adequate diagnosis and follow a treatment regimen that provides a good quality of life despite the diagnosis.