Fibromyalgia (FM) is one of the most undiagnosed and/or misdiagnosed conditions in the United States. Statistics from the American College of Rheumatology reveal approximately 3.7 million Americans over the age of 18 have FM. The National Institute of Health says the number is 4 to 8 million adult cases. Why is there such a huge discrepancy?
Additionally, FM causes stiffness and/or pain in muscular areas, mostly in the shoulders, neck, hip, and spine. This qualifies it as a musculoskeletal condition. Furthermore, it can cause skin sensitivity and/or tingling, as well as stomach-related disorders, problems sleeping, and short-term memory deficiencies.
The symptoms of FM are illusive and sometimes unrelated. That’s one reason why it’s difficult to diagnose. Indicators are exceedingly widespread as well as similar to other conditions.
Another reason FM is difficult to identify is because there are no specific tests for it. Physicians prefer first to rule out other conditions that mimic fibromyalgia before delving into long, arduous, time-consuming alternatives.
Fibromyalgia can also appear along with other ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, RLS (restless leg syndrome) and lupus. The Mayo Clinic’s list further adds depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and endometriosis.
No one knows what causes fibromyalgia. Some researchers believe it might come from abnormalities in the central nervous system’s sensory processing system. It can trigger an abnormally elevated perception of pain.
Other researchers disagree. They think some cases arise from injury, illness, or genetic factors. However, both sexes, all age groups, and every ethnic population are vulnerable.
Fibromyalgia is more common in women and seniors. It’s especially more difficult for older people. They have to discern whether newly found aches and pains are part of the natural aging process or something else to warrant another visit to their doctor.
There is no cure for FM. However, your physician can work out a plan that will help control the major symptoms. A typical plan includes medications and other therapies.
Fibromyalgia places a monumental inhibiting effect on daily living, personal, and lifestyle activities. Severe or inadequately treated symptoms of FM are disabling. That's why it’s so important for sufferers and potential patients to get a proper diagnosis within a reasonable amount of time.