What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. A number of other symptoms may be present such as fatigue, sleep problems, and problems with memory. It is frequently associated with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. Fibromyalgia is not yet well understood, and diagnoses have been challenged. Certain lifestyle factors such as smoking and obesity may increase risk. Fibromyalgia is neither degenerative nor fatal.
The cause of fibromyalgia in unknown but believed to be an even combination of genetic and environmental factors. The condition runs in families and many genes are involved.
Diagnosis involves first ruling out other potential causes and verifying that a set number of symptoms are present. There is no specific diagnostic test.
Treatment of fibromyalgia is difficult. Recommendations include healthy lifestyle habits, cognitive behavioral therapy, and certain medications. Use of opioid pain medication is controversial, and dietary supplements lack sufficient evidence to support usage.
Fibromyalgia by the numbers.
- Estimated 2-8% of population affected by fibromyalgia
- Affects females twice as often as males
- As much as 75% of those affected may go undiagnosed