What Is Fibromyalgia?
Causing muscle fatigue and pain, fibromyalgia affects fewer than 5 percent of the population, with more women than men suffering from the disorder. As the condition develops, fibromyalgia can cause tender points on the body that are painful when touched.
The root cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, and it is not considered an autoimmune or inflammation-based condition, despite the fact that symptoms are deceptively common to many rheumatic diseases.
Researchers currently suspect fibromyalgia arises from the following:
- Psychological or physical trauma
- Genetics, as it tends to run in families
- Illnesses and infections
Because fibromyalgia symptoms often mimic other conditions, making a definitive diagnosis is a time-consuming process that must first rule out other potential health conditions. Rheumatologists seeking to determine whether fibromyalgia is present look for:
- Fatigue — Fibromyalgia normally causes extreme fatigue, which is exacerbated by poor sleep — another symptom of fibromyalgia.
- Mental and psychological struggles — Frequently, fibromyalgia brings on memory problems or makes it difficult to think clearly. Additionally, it can cause anxiety or depression.
- Pain — The pain brought on by fibromyalgia is normally widespread, affecting many parts of the body. Additionally, the pain must be present for no less than three months before it can be considered related to fibromyalgia.
Though there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are treatments that can provide symptomatic relief, including:
- Medication — A few medications are used to manage fibromyalgia. Some modify the chemicals in the brain that control pain levels, while others block the nerve cells that tell the brain that the body is in pain.
- Therapies — Physical and cognitive therapy can both reduce pain through low-impact exercise (physical therapy) and practicing meditation and mindfulness (cognitive therapy).
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