A new Mayo Clinic study suggests that many people who have fibromyalgia, especially men, are going undiagnosed. The findings appeared Monday in the online edition of the journal Arthritis Care & Research.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes symptoms such as pain and tenderness, fatigue, and sleep and memory problems. Many of these symptoms can overlap or be mistaken for other conditions, the Mayo Clinic researchers noted.
They examined data from people in Olmsted County, Minn., and estimated that 6.4% of people aged 21 and older had fibromyalgia but only 1.1% of them had been diagnosed with the condition.
The researchers also found that 20 times more men had fibromyalgia symptoms than had been diagnosed, while three times more women had fibromyalgia symptoms than had been diagnosed.
There is no diagnostic test to determine if a person has fibromyalgia. Although there is no cure for the condition, there are effective treatments. Research has shown that diagnosing people with fibromyalgia which is far more common in women than in men reduces health care costs because they need fewer tests and referrals to determine the cause of their symptoms.
More research is needed, particularly on why men who reported fibromyalgia symptoms were less likely than women to receive a fibromyalgia diagnosis, says lead author Ann Vincent, M.D., medical director of Mayo Clinic's Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Clinic.
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