Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis

Fibromyalgia Diagnosis
Fibromyalgia is a difficult condition to diagnose because there is no blood or imaging test for it. Many doctors still use a tender points test to help diagnose the condition. Testing is often done to rule out other conditions that could cause pain, including arthritis, infections and Lyme disease.

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    A Rheumatology, answered on behalf of
    The way in which fibromyalgia is diagnosed has changed over the years. For a long time, doctors diagnosed fibromyalgia if people had certain painful points on their body. But this is no longer how they make the diagnosis. There is new, complex criteria used to diagnose fibromyalgia. Essentially, if you hurt in many body parts, have signs of nonrestorative sleep that last for more than three months and no other explanation for your symptoms, then you have fibromyalgia.
     
    However, if you hurt in just a few of body parts but have very prominent signs of nonrestorative sleep, you also may be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. 
  • 8 Answers
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    A Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of

    There is no single test for fibromyalgia, the condition marked by widespread chronic pain, heightened sensitivity to pressure and extreme fatigue.

    And since fibromyalgia symptoms can mimic those of other conditions, such as Rheumatoid arthritis, it is often misdiagnosed.

    Among the specific blood tests that your doctor could order is a complete blood count (CBC). This test measures the hemoglobin, red cells, white cells, and platelets. It is useful for finding many common blood disorders -- such as anemia - that can cause fatigue.

    Your doctor may ask for tests -- including kidney and liver tests -- that check blood chemistries. Your doctor will probably want to know the level of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, calcium levels, and more.

    Your doctor may also run thyroid tests to see if your thyroid is overactive or underactive.

    Since it is a syndrome with multiple symptoms, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia may require various tests to rule out other conditions.

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    The reasons that fibromyalgia is frequently dismissed or misdiagnosed are complex. For starters, there is no blood or imaging test (such as an X-ray or MRI) that doctors can use to diagnose fibromyalgia. Doctors must determine whether a patient has fibromyalgia based on his or her symptoms. Yet fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain and fatigue mimic those of many other conditions, such as arthritis and depression. For these reasons, a patient with fibromyalgia may see several physicians before he or she is accurately diagnosed.
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  • 4 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Fibromyalgia's symptoms of deep muscle pain, ongoing fatigue, sleep problems, and depression sometimes mimic other pain-related conditions. It is common for people to go from doctor to doctor seeking answers for their muscle pain and fatigue. Because there are no medical tests to diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors use lab tests and scans to rule out more serious problems. For example, fibromyalgia can mimic chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) with its constant fatigue and inability to concentrate. Also, fibromyalgia may mimic arthritis or depression because of the similar symptoms.
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  • 6 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Many people go from doctor to doctor looking for a reason for their symptoms, since there are no definitive tests for the fibromyalgia. It may be difficult to make an accurate diagnosis if you cannot see a scientific measurement such as laboratory tests or X-rays. That is why so many people with fibromyalgia are misdiagnosed and ineffectively treated. Your doctor will order a few basic lab tests to make sure no other problems are present, but these tests are limited. For instance, X-rays of the painful areas will show no abnormality because the pain caused by fibromyalgia is in the soft tissues (muscles and tendons) which do not show up well on routine X-rays. 
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  • 9 Answers
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    Diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult. No one knows the exact cause of fibromyalgia, but there are several theories. Research indicates that there may be an abnormality in the part of the brain that processes pain signals. Fibromyalgia can be triggered by an injury, illness or extreme emotional stress.

    In the last two decades, however, fibromyalgia research and advocacy have increased dramatically, which has helped doctors make more accurate diagnoses. More people are now aware of fibromyalgia symptoms, its potential causes and the treatment options.

    If you feel you have some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your individual symptoms and diagnosis.
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  • 4 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Fibromyalgia is tough to diagnose. People may go from doctor to doctor for many years seeking answers only to be treated for chronic pain or depression. To make a diagnosis, your doctor may order a few basic lab tests to rule out more serious medical problems. Your doctor may order a complete blood count (CBC), a test to check your thyroid levels, a test for Lyme disease, a test for arthritis, a test for lupus, and tests for your prolactin and calcium levels (parathyroid abnormalities). Your doctor may do a test to check for rheumatoid factor and for pain sensitivity. People with fibromyalgia have tender or trigger points on the body that extend from the knees to the neck. When a doctor touches these trigger points, it may cause great pain. If someone has pain at 11 of these 18 trigger points, fibromyalgia may be the diagnosis. 
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    Many people with fibromyalgia symptoms will get not only a second opinion, but also a third, and maybe more, until they feel they have arrived at an accurate diagnosis and the right approach to their fibromyalgia care.

    Second opinions are also sometimes needed because a confirmed fibromyalgia diagnosis can be difficult to determine. Many symptoms are similar to those of other chronic illnesses such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is not unusual for people with pain issues to talk with several doctors until they find an accurate diagnosis.
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  • 4 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    It is important to trust your doctor to decide which medical tests are best to make sure more serious medical problems are not present. But if your doctor is unable to diagnose and treat your fibromyalgia symptoms effectively, it makes sense to get a second opinion or even a third one if you want more answers. You may need further testing to be sure the symptoms are not caused by a problem such as cancer. Seeking a second or third opinion is important if you have any doubts about a diagnosis or treatment. 
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  • 2 Answers
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    The prognosis for fibromyalgia can vary dramatically from person to person. There is a wide range of symptoms, including muscle pain, tender joints, sleeplessness, morning stiffness, and headaches. There are a variety of treatments.

    To understand your own prognosis, tell your doctor or healthcare provider what you are experiencing and how it affects your quality of life. You will understand your prognosis better after discussing your condition with your doctor.

    Treatments can include a combination of medications and alternative therapies, even massage and changes in diet. There are prescription medications available, and non-prescription pain medications can help if taken under supervision. Your doctor will help you understand how fibromyalgia is going to affect you.
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