Fibromyalgia Causes

Fibromyalgia Causes

Fibromyalgia Causes
One of the most common risk factors for fibromyalgia is experiencing some type of physical or emotional trauma, and there is some indication that genetic factors also may play a role. Patients with sleep disorders have increased risk, and poor sleep habits are related to fibromyalgia flares.

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    The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years. However, this incidence rises with age so that by age 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia. It is imperative for older people to know that aging does not necessarily mean living with more pain. People who are in pain, regardless of their age, should be seen and treated appropriately by caring doctors.
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    Doctors classify fibromyalgia as a rheumatic disease, which is the medical term for a chronic, painful condition that affects the joints and their supporting tissues (such as tendons and ligaments). Arthritis is another type of rheumatic disease. If you have fibromyalgia, your primary-care doctor may refer you to a specialist known as a rheumatologist for treatment.
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  • 11 Answers
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Fibromyalgia has a history that’s both contentious and mysterious. For a long time, there was no consensus in the medical community about whether it even existed, whether it was a “real” disorder or an “imagined” one. This has changed, and the medical establishment now overwhelmingly accepts that fibromyalgia exists as a very real disorder. But much about the syndrome -- including and especially what causes it -- remains unknown. For this reason, and because there is no single test that can positively identify fibromyalgia, it remains difficult to diagnose. Since it can’t be tested for, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia comes by way of eliminating other possible conditions.

    There are signs of possible genetic and environmental links, since fibromyalgia seems to sometimes run in families. Researchers have explored links between fibromyalgia and other diseases and disorders, including arthritis, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue and restless leg syndrome, but have found no conclusive evidence to demonstrate a causal link between fibromyalgia and these conditions. That said, all of these disorders are found more often in people with fibromyalgia than in the general population.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    While it's not set in stone, some researchers believe that fibromyalgia is the result of a genetic tendency; therefore, just like you inherit your mother's blue eyes or your father's black hair, you can inherit the tendency to have fibromyalgia.

    These researchers believe that when someone with a genetic tendency to fibromyalgia is exposed to emotional or physical stress like an illness, accident or emotional crisis, there is a change in the body's response to stress. This change may cause a higher sensitivity of the entire body to pain. 
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    Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and others are closely linked to fibromyalgia. While it's not known that rheumatic diseases cause or trigger fibromyalgia, it's interesting to note that 25 percent to 65 percent of people who have this condition also have certain forms of rheumatic disease.

    Rheumatic diseases cause the joints and supporting tissues to become inflamed, painful, and swollen. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, as well as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis (arthritis of the spine) are all rheumatic diseases that have been linked to fibromyalgia.
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    A , Integrative Medicine, answered

    Although there are dozens of infections associated with both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, these are most often infections that are very common in the everyday environment or not readily transmitted from person to person. The infection persists because of the immune dysfunction (weakened immune system) that is common in fibromyalgia and CFS.

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    There are a number of steps you can take to help treat sleep disturbances, which may worsen your fibromyalgia symptoms and make the condition more difficult to manage.
    • Improve your sleep habits. Try to relax before bed by listening to soothing music or taking a bath. Stick to a regular sleep schedule -- that is, go to bed and get up at the same time every day. When you do turn in, don't watch TV or work on your computer while in bed. Your bedroom should be for sleeping.
    • Create a healthy sleep environment. Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet while you rest.
    • Avoid daytime naps. Studies show that  siestas make it harder to get a good night's sleep.
    • Limit your caffeine and alcohol. Too much of either can disrupt your sleeping patterns.
    • Consider medication. In particular, small doses of antidepressants known as tricyclic medications appear to help promote healthier sleep in people with fibromyalgia. These medicines can help relax painful muscles, too.
    Talk with your doctor about all strategies you can use to get better sleep.
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    Substance P is a neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, that stimulates pain receptors in the body. If a person's substance P levels are elevated, his or her perception of pain may be greatly exaggerated. Some scientists have investigated whether high levels of substance P play a role in the pain associated with fibromyalgia. More research is needed on the link between substance P and fibromyalgia.
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    Generally, menopause does not increase your risk for developing fibromyalgia. However, as you go through menopause, your estrogen levels begin to drop and may cause symptoms that are sometimes similar to those of fibromyalgia. If you begin to experience sleep disruption and daytime fatigue, then these symptoms could be attributed to either menopause or fibromyalgia.

    You will have a clearer understanding of the issues if you and your doctor review all of your symptoms instead of focusing on a select few. For example, symptoms of menopause such as night sweats and hot flashes are normally not symptoms of fibromyalgia. Likewise, symptoms of fibromyalgia such as muscle pain and morning stiffness are normally not symptoms of menopause.

    If you have new symptoms that affect your quality of life, talk to your doctor so that your symptoms can be accurately diagnosed. Only with an accurate diagnosis can you begin to treat the specific issues based on the specific condition.
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    Doctors who treat fibromyalgia have noticed that some people experience their first symptoms of this condition following a stressful event. Undergoing surgery is both physically and psychologically stressful. The exact risk of developing fibromyalgia due to surgery is unknown. If you experience persistent pain, fatigue, or other symptoms following a surgical procedure, talk to your doctor.