Fibromyalgia is a type of arthritis. The term arthritis is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints, the tissues that surround the joint and other connective tissue. Although we can describe fibromyalgia symptoms, scientists and doctors do not know why a particular person develops fibromyalgia.
The main fibromyalgia symptoms are widespread pain, sleep disturbance, fatigue and often psychological distress. Adults with fibromyalgia are 3.4 times more likely to have major depression than peers without fibromyalgia. (Can J Psychiatry 2005;50(4):195–202). People with fibromyalgia react strongly (abnormal pain perception processing) to things that other people would not find painful. People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms such as:
Painful menstrual periods and other pain syndromes
The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has criteria for judging whether or not someone has fibromyalgia based on the presence of widespread pain for at least 3 months, and tenderness on 11 of 18 pressure points.
Fibromyalgia often occurs with other rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis (AS). More women than men suffer from fibromyalgia. In the US the ratio is 7 feale fibromyalgia patients to very male one. Children can also suffer from fibromyalgia, although the older you are the more likely you are to develop fibromyalgia.
Although the cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, certain events in people’s lives have been loosely associated with the onset of the disease:
Some people also appear to have a genetic predisposition to developing fibromyalgia.
Based on information from Centers For Disease Control (USA).
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