What Is Fibromyalgia Syndrome?
You’ve heard of fibromyalgia but don’t really know what it is. It’s a mysterious disease highlighted by one or more accompanying symptoms which can occur individually or in tandem. Usually, the disease is associated with some type of pain so here are some of the more common symptoms:
- anxiety or depression
- the pain threshold begins to deteriorate as well as the tender points
- fatigue and the feeling of being tired becomes overwhelming
- pain management decreases along with widespread pain across the human body
If you’re a woman you are more likely to experience fibromyalgia pain than men. Fibromyalgia is a condition that affects approximately 12 million Americans each year. But, did you know that fibromyalgia symptoms in females occur 10 times more than in males, with the average age being 25 to 60.
So What Are Fibromyalgia Symptoms?
If this scenario sounds like you, you may be a candidate for Fibromyalgia. You wake up each morning only to still be extremely fatigued. Trying to get out of bed becomes a chore to the point that some of the tender points on the human body may provide excruciating pain. So consider these fibromyalgia facts:
Are you having trouble sleeping?
When you get into a deep sleep, it’s only for a short period of time leaving you fatigued, moody, or depressed.
When trying to accomplish even the smallest of tasks your muscles feel like they’ve been seriously overworked and or even torn or pulled.
Are you experiencing a burning, twitching, or stabbing pain in the muscles?
If so, you may have fibromyalgia symptoms.
Do you have any pain in the joints, especially around the neck, should, hips, and back areas?
If the answer is yes, are you having additional issues with sleep or exercising on a routine basis?
Here are some other symptoms to be on the lookout for:
- abdominal pain
- anxiety and depression
- chronic headaches
- difficulty maintaining sleep or light sleep
- dryness in mouth, nose, and eyes
- fatigue upon arising
- hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
- inability to concentrate (called “fibro fog”)
- irritable bowel syndrome
- numbness or tingling in the fingers and feet
- painful menstrual cramps
Did you know that fibromyalgia can disguise itself to look like other problems? It has similar sign and symptoms to these other problems: osteoarthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis. Many specialists will look at diagnosing fibromyalgia in the same vein as arthritis, but its pain is similar to bursitis or tendinitis because it is targeted in a single location. Other symptoms reported include pain and stiffness.
How is Fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Bad news here! Unfortunately to date there are no blood tests that can diagnose the disease or any fibromyalgia causes. Physicians are forced to rely on a complete physical exam accompanied with an extensive family history as the sole fibromyalgia test. Normally, doctors will go through a process of elimination with regards to other conditions or diseases before narrowing their diagnosis.
While blood and laboratory tests will not provide a diagnosis, they can be utilized to eliminate other conditions. Many physicians will ask for a CBC (complete blood count) in addition to glucose which can present itself with problems similar to fibromyalgia.
Extensive thyroid testing can also be recommended. An underactive thyroid (hypothyroid) can mask itself with symptoms similar to that of fibromyalgia including pain, fatigue, muscle aches, and a depressed feeling.