Fibromyalgia disease is a condition that is characterized by fatigue and joint stiffness and muscle pain that occurs in multiple areas of the body. The disorder is chronic, or ongoing, but the pain is intermittent, and it moves to various sites. Fibromyalgia disease is often unrecognized or is misdiagnosed and is often accompanied by anxiety and mood disorders which further complicate the condition.
Prevalence of the Fibromyalgia Disease
Research has estimated that the prevalence of fibromyalgia in the United States is approximately 8% among women and 5% among men. It is one of the most common diseases seen by rheumatologists, and approximately 8% of all patients seen in primary care physician offices have fibromyalgia disease.
The Fibromyalgia disease has an overall presence influencing about 1 out of every 20 individuals all around the world. In the United States, almost 2– 10% of the overall public of different age groups are influenced by this condition. In England and Wales, there are almost 1.76 million grown-ups with the condition. In the United States, almost 5.0 million grown-ups have been determined to have the fibromyalgia disease.
Women aged 20 to 55, and are in the child-bearing years are most powerless and likely to get this condition. This is additionally a dynamic working age for women.
According to statistics, women in this age group are 10 times more averse to come back to work and 4 times less inclined to hold work 1 year after hospitalization from fibromyalgia.
Women are at greater risk of developing fibromyalgia disease than men, and the risk of developing the disease is also greater in first-degree relatives of people who have the condition than in the general population. This suggests there is a genetic tendency to the disorder. The risk of developing the condition also increases, in both men and women, with age.
The symptoms of the fibromyalgia disease can be triggered or made worse by a variety of stressors. These include emotional stress, pain due to inflammation, autoimmune disorders or physical trauma.
Individuals with fibromyalgia disease are often times hospitalized. Normally, they might be confronting 1 hospitalization at regular intervals. Women have higher hospitalization rates than men.
What's more, fibromyalgia disease brings about around 5.5 million visits to the doctor's office consistently. There is an abnormal state of related manifestations that may extend in seriousness from gentle to extremely crippling. These require healing facilities and constant doctor's office visits.
There is a little distinction between mortality or death rates among patients with fibromyalgia disease and the individuals who don't have the condition. Passing dangers may ascend due to related factors, for example, self-destructive tendencies because of depression and anxiety because of wounds and so on.
No one knows exactly what causes fibromyalgia disease. A variety of different factors working together is the most likely cause. These factors may include:
- Genetics: Fibromyalgia has a genetic tendency, which means there may be certain mutations in genes that make some individuals more susceptible to the condition.
- Infections: Fibromyalgia seems to be triggered, or its symptoms made worse by certain illnesses.
- Emotional or physical trauma: Experiencing a traumatic physical injury or accident, or an emotionally traumatic experience is linked to the disease. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been found to be connected to fibromyalgia.
- Sex: Fibromyalgia affects women more often than men.
- Lifestyle: People who are inactive or who are in poor physical condition are more like to develop the disease.
Fibromyalgia disease is classified in a number of different ways around the world. It is a pain-processing disorder that develops due to problems in the way pain signals are dealt with in the body's central nervous system. The committee of experts at the European League Against Rheumatism classify the disease as a neurobiological disorder and are very supportive only of pharmacotherapy in treating it. The American College of Rheumatology considers fibromyalgia disease to be a functional somatic disorder.
The international disease coding manual (ICD-10) lists fibromyalgia disease under the section entitled "Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue" and gives direction to classify it, not as a mental disorder, but as a functional somatic disorder.
Certain mental disorders and some diseases with physical symptoms commonly exist in people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia disease. Depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome are problems that should be diagnosed and coded separately according to the ICD-10.
Because of differences in our psychological, as well as in our autonomic nervous system, not everyone who has fibromyalgia disease experiences the same symptoms. Some scientists several years ago identified several different sub-types of the disorder, in addition to describing the possibility of the existence of "mixed types."
Fibromyalgia symptoms may be contingent upon the season or the day - morning, late evening, and night has a tendency to be the most noticeably bad circumstances. Side effects may likewise deteriorate with weariness, strain, inertia, changes in the climate, icy or drafty conditions, overexertion, hormonal vacillations, (for example, just before your period or amid menopause), stress, melancholy, or other enthusiastic variables.
In the event that the condition is not analyzed and treated early, side effects can go on uncertainty, or they may vanish for quite a long time and after that repeat. So, what are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The primary symptoms of fibromyalgia are:
- widespread and chronic pain (lasting more than 3 months)
- sleep disturbance
- increased pain in response to touch
Some people may also have these symptoms of fibromyalgia:
- Weakness of the arms and/or legs
- Muscle spasms or twitching
- A feeling of tingling or "pins and needles" (paresthesia)
- Problems with their bowels can develop in people who have fibromyalgia
- Nerve pain
Many people with symptoms of fibromyalgia also experience a condition known as "fibro-fog." This is a problem with cognitive function and symptoms include:
- Difficulty with concentration
- Impaired long and short-term memory
- Decreased speed in the performance of tasks
- Impaired ability to multitask
- Decreased attention span may occur in people who have fibromyalgia
- Cognition overload
Constant pain is characterized by pain that keeps on going for more than 3 months. That is the fundamental symptom of fibromyalgia: creeping muscle pain that endures longer than 3 months. Extensive pain is characterized by pain both above and below the torso and on both the right and left sides of the body.
The disease is also often linked to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Other times, symptoms of fibromyalgia might possibly be happening due to another disease process that co-exists in the patient. Some of these conditions include:
- Functional bowel syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Dermatological conditions (diseases or disorders of the skin)
- Symptomatic hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Headaches are a common symptom of fibromyalgia
- Myoclonic twitches: very fast uncontrollable muscle jerks, especially near the eye
- Urinary symptoms
- Myofascial pain: trigger points in the body that are very painful, and when touched may produce pain in a different location (referred pain).
Even though for classification purposes, the presence of fibromyalgia is based on pain which is spread throughout the body, the pain may also be localized in specific areas, for example, in the neck and shoulders, the hips or lower back or other sites.
Fibromyalgia is a very difficult disease to diagnose. No single test exists that can fully prove its existence, and there is considerable debate over what signs and symptoms must be present in order for a diagnosis to be made. Some question if it is even possible to objectively diagnose symptoms of fibromyalgia at all. Patients who have symptoms of fibromyalgia typically do not have abnormal lab results and many of their symptoms closely resemble those of joint disorders like osteoporosis or arthritis.
In many cases, a physician diagnoses fibromyalgia after considering all the possibilities of what might be wrong, based on the patient's gender, age, symptoms, medical history, location, lifestyle and other factors. Then he narrows down all these possibilities to the most likely one. This is called a "differential diagnosis."
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has defined a set of criteria that must be present in a patient in order to be diagnosed as having fibromyalgia:
- Pain duration: The pain has been present for more than three months.
- Pain location: All four quadrants of the body (above and below the waist, and both sides) have been affected by the pain.
In the past, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia was also based on the presence of "tender points." There are 18 of these points designated but is possible for a person with symptoms of fibromyalgia to experience pain in other areas of the body as well. The number of these "tender points" is no longer included as criteria for diagnosis. The number of these sites that are tender or "active" at any certain point may change over time and with varying circumstances.
The use of these points has been considered in the past to prove that a patient was malingering, or pretending to be ill or to cast doubt on whether an individual has fibromyalgia. It's important to note that no studies have been completed on the use of control points in diagnosing fibromyalgia, and the use of test like this would be ill-advised.
It is recommended that fibromyalgia is considered as a diagnosis in people complaining of widespread pain. The criteria for classifying diagnoses by ARC was originally created as a way to help select candidates for research purposes. It was never intended to be used in the clinical setting to make clinical diagnoses.
It has been determined, since the criteria by ARC were first published, in studies using mechanical testing devices that diagnosing fibromyalgia requires a doctor's subjective opinion. The diagnosis of fibromyalgia can't be made by a computer or a machine.
If you've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, there are many different ways to manage the condition. Since there is no cure, treatment is focused on effectively managing the fatigue, pain, depression or other symptoms that are typical for fibromyalgia. The goal of medication for fibromyalgia is usually focused on breaking the cycle of an increase in pain sensitivity and a decrease in physical activity.
The medication for fibromyalgia plan you need or want to follow might depend on your answers to questions like these:
- How bad are your symptoms of fibromyalgia?
- Is your fibromyalgia disrupting or interrupting your daily routine?
- What kinds of changes are you willing or do you have the ability to make in your life?
Getting some kind of consistent exercise is one of the very best approaches to help manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Cardiovascular exercise, an exercise that pushes your heart rate up, is especially helpful. Swimming or other forms of water exercise works well for some people with fibromyalgia. Whatever you choose, be sure to start slow and build your endurance gradually. You don't want to end up with aching muscles that make you want to quit exercising altogether. Another option is to work with a physical therapist who is knowledgeable about medication for fibromyalgia.
Medication for Fibromyalgia
Medication for fibromyalgia is the most common form of treatment. Therapeutic drugs can help to relax muscle spasms, can help improve your sleep, and can help relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, or he or she may prescribe medications such as muscle relaxants, antidepressants or anticonvulsants to help relieve your symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Not everyone benefits from medication for fibromyalgia. You might need to try more than one medication before you find one that works well for you. You may also discover that over time, a medication for fibromyalgia that used to work well to help relieve your symptoms of fibromyalgia is no longer is effective.
Hypnotherapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy and other types of counselling have been shown to be beneficial to individuals who have fibromyalgia. Trained counsellors can teach you effective ways to reduce stress, how to relax and teach you how to manage your pain and fatigue. Counselling can also help you to function better, and it can improve your mood.
Take care of you
A vital part of coping with fibromyalgia is learning how to take care of yourself. For example:
- Identify any problems you have sleeping: If sleeping is a problem for you, learn some ways to get more restful sleep. Sleep is important when you have conditions like fibromyalgia.
- Manage your pain: Find ways that work for you to control the stiffness and of fibromyalgia.
- Identify "triggers" that aggravate your fibromyalgia: Triggers can be things like changes in the weather, increased stress in relationships or with finances, too little sleep or certain activities. If you can identify them, you can avoid or learn to manage them and take control of fibromyalgia rather than letting fibromyalgia control you.
- Get support: Talk to your physician if you have symptoms of anxiety or depression.
With some help, you can work through many of these medications for fibromyalgia approaches and set goals for yourself on your own. You might already have a team of healthcare professionals to help you. The symptoms of fibromyalgia are sporadic, so it may be hard to tell if a certain treatment is working or not. Each individual with fibromyalgia responds in a different way to each treatment and medication for fibromyalgia. Many patients with fibromyalgia also have other diseases of their muscles or joints, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions need treatment too and finding treatments that work takes time. You may have to try several different treatment methods to the answer that works best for you.
Fibromyalgia is a disease that can't be prevented. It can also be a difficult condition to treat, but there are ways you can minimize the effects of fibromyalgia. As much as you can, try to do the following:
- Sleep: Get enough rest. Many people with fibromyalgia don't sleep well. Treating any sleeping problems you have can help with symptoms of fatigue and can help relieve your pain.
- Exercise: Try to be as physically active as you can. Fatigue and pain may slow you down and steal your motivation, but try to do some form of exercise every day, even if it's only some gentle stretches or a short walk. This may help your symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- Make needed changes on the job: Make adjustments in your work-space. Cut down on the over-time or consider working part-time. Check to see if you're eligible for disability benefits due to fibromyalgia.
- Eat well: A healthy diet will improve your energy level, help even out your moods, and it helps prevent other problems with your health, even those not related to fibromyalgia.
- Reduce stress: Be kind to yourself. Don't over-extend or over-exert. Set goals that are challenging, but reachable. Set aside time for yourself every day to relax.