Is fibromyalgia a real disease??

Canada
January 25, 2007 11:24am CST
I've recently started some research regarding some symptoms that I have, and when I entered them all into a yahoo search, the only thing that came back to me was Fibromyalgia. I want to talk to my doctor about it, but my mother said that she thought she had it a few years back and went to our family doctor about it and all he said to her was that it wasn't really a condition at all. He told her to eat better, exercise more and the symptoms would go away. Is it really a condition? Because one of my main concerns is about my depression and mood swings, but I have almost every symptom on the list of Fibromyalgia symptoms. Should I just tell my doctor that I'm depressed and get him to prescribe an antidepressant?? I don't know what to think anymore. What would you suggest?
6 people like this
34 responses
@bethmt (419)
• United States
25 Jan 07
Some doctors say that it's not real but there are many who take it seriously and are helpful to their patients. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia nearly 16 years ago by a rheumatologist. The thing with fibromyalgia it's the symptoms that are treated, there's no real cure for it. So if you're feeling depressed you may just need treatment for that. I'd really suggest that you see your family doctor and talk to them about your symptoms to see what they say. But tell your doctor all of your symptoms so that they can make a good diagnosis. You may need to get some bloodwork done to find out if there is any underlying problem that's contributing to your depression and other symptoms, like thyroid problems or anemia. If the depression persists then you may end up needing to try and antidepressant. Exercise and proper diet can really help with fibromyalgia but one thing that's also helped for me is taking B12 shots every month which was suggested by my doctor.It seems to help me with the pain and my energy level. I hope things get better for you soon, take care.:)
@anjuscor (1266)
• India
25 Jan 07
Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is a chronic syndrome (constellation of signs and symptoms) characterized by diffuse or specific muscle, joint, or bone pain, fatigue, and a wide range of other symptoms. It is not contagious, and recent studies suggest that people with fibromyalgia may be genetically predisposed. It affects more females than males, with a ratio of 9:1 by ACR (American College of Rheumatology) criteria. Fibromyalgia is seen in 3% to 6% of the general population, and is most commonly diagnosed in individuals between the ages of 20 and 50. The nature of fibromyalgia is not well understood; some physicians believe that it may be psychosomatic. However, a new study reported in the National Fibromyalgia Association Newsletter, suggests a strong dopamine link. There are few, if any, treatments available. Although there is no cure, the disease itself is neither life-threatening nor progressive, though the degree of symptoms may vary greatly from day to day with periods of flares (severe worsening of symptoms) or remission. The following factors are said to temporarily increase the suffering of patients: * Cold weather, especially when damp * Changes in atmospheric pressure (such as with the onset of a cold front) * Malnutrition, hunger, or starvation * Physical activity * Lack of deep (REM) sleep * Increase of stress
1 person likes this
@patootie (3593)
26 Jan 07
That's very good .. and absolutely right .. I've had this dratted syndrome for a couple of decades now .. I can tell the weather is about to change approx 48 hours before it starts to change .. I am very sensitive to barometric changes .. physical activity causes me a lot of pain and muscle problems .. I always suggest to folks that they visit www.fibrohugs.com .. it's an excellent web site and explains much of the problems we can have with fibromyalgia .. And depressants may not work or can even make you worse .. people who have fibro are often sensitive to medications and great car needs to be taken with dosage
1 person likes this
@kareng (7980)
• United States
26 Jan 07
I can sense the barometric changes also. I've never really thought of it relating to Fibro until you mentioned it.
• Canada
26 Jan 07
I hadn't read anything about a link with weather, but now that you mention it, my husband loves that I can predict when it's going to rain because my knees start to hurt.
@moonmage (148)
• United States
26 Jan 07
The only doctors that do not take fibromyalgia seriously are here in the United States. It's not actually a disease, it's more of a recurring illness. However, a lot of things can give off fibromyalgia-like symptoms so it's really a good idea to rule other things out first. Exercise and a good diet are two things you can work on both for depression and fibromyalgia. It is a real condition, however, although all you can do is try to improve your symptoms. That is, it never goes away and there's no treatment.
1 person likes this
@moonmage (148)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Forgive me, I meant to say there is no cure. You can treat the symptoms and some medicines help some people. A rheumatologist can run the tests to help determine if perhaps you have fibromyalgia. There's a pressure point and a blood test, or at least there was the last time I was tested. Even then, it really just turned out that I had a nasty viral infection that mimicked fibro. My mother has it however and I know how rough it can be.
1 person likes this
@webduck (238)
• United States
26 Jan 07
There are 3 to 5 million people in the US with fibromyalgia. I am one of them. You need to go to a rheumatologist to have it diagnosed. Most family doctors do not have the current knowledge of the disease. Also, you can get more information by going to the National Fibromyalgia Association website. It took me years to get diagnosed, and I would hate to see anyone else wait that long. I do take an anti-depressant too. Don't give up hope though. Message me any time if you like. I would be happy to talk with you about it.
1 person likes this
• Canada
26 Jan 07
Thank you so much for your offer. I just recently heard about it, and when I talked to my mother about making a doctor's appointment, she basically discouraged me telling me that they would just tell me to eat better and exercise more often. But this is all starting to affect my husband and kids.. because I get moody and I hurt all the time, not to mention that I'm ALWAYS tired.
@whybird (111)
• United States
25 Jan 07
It's a very real disease. Problem is, most people especially Doctors buy into the whole "its in your head" garbage. And it's not. Just thinking you don't hurt, isn't going to stop you from hurting. See a Dr, it may take several. There are tests they can do to rule out everything else. Which is part of the problem, many of the symptoms are ones that occur in other diseases. Good luck, and there's plenty of good support groups out there.
@anjuscor (1266)
• India
25 Jan 07
When making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a practitioner would take into consideration the patient's case history and the exclusion of other conditions such as endocrine disorders, arthritis, and polymyalgia rheumatica. * A history of widespread pain lasting more than three months — widespread as in all four quadrants of the body, i.e., both sides, and above and below the waist. * Tender points — there are 18 designated possible tender points (although a person with the syndrome may feel pain in other areas as well). During diagnosis, four kilograms-force (40 newtons) of force is exerted at each of the 18 points; the patient must feel pain at 11 or more of these points for fibromyalgia to be considered. Four kilograms of force is about the amount of pressure required to turn fingernails white or to feel pain sensations on the forehead. This technique was developed by the American College of Rheumatology as a means of confirming the diagnosis for clinical studies. It is also used in the United Kingdom. Pressure on nearby areas rarely elicits any reaction. Fibromyalgia patients also have elevated levels of Substance P in the body, which increases the levels of pain and intensity. However, it should be remembered that this diagnostic criteria was originally established as an inclusion criteria for a research study and was not then intended for general diagnosis. The number of tender points that invoke a response can vary as the condition flares and eases. Patients have also been known to start off having Fibromyalgic symptoms in only one half of their body. The tender point test also depends on a good medical practitioner and good communication between doctor and patient: if the doctor misses the tender point site, then a false negative reponse could be noted; the doctor might not apply the right level of pressure to the tender point; if the patient has some tender points that hurt less than other points they might not mention them even if they do hurt; and some doctors do the test without telling the patient to say when it hurts, so if the patient conceals when some points hurts then a false negative response could be noted.
1 person likes this
@sylviekitty (2083)
• United States
26 Jan 07
I have at least 2 aunts on my dad's side of the family who were diagnosed with it.. one of the aunts has 3 kids, all supposedly who have it. Then I have another cousin (same side of the family) who has it. All of these people went to the same doctor, and paid him $400 to be seen by him and supposedly for him to do all this testing and determine they have Fibro. Now not to say they don't have it, but one of the cousins told me (since I have most of these symptoms myself) "you better be sure you think you have it, or else you're wasting $400". LOL! So ... are these people spending that money just to be told they have it, or what?! I went to a neurologist, because I've been having all sorts of weird problems for the last 9 years or so. I was tested for all sorts of things. She said basically "you name it, you don't have it". She said she could diagnose me with Fibro, but I didn't quite fit that diagnosis either.. so I'm still stuck in limbo, with freak pain all over. It sucks!!
1 person likes this
@shooie (4989)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Medical - Medical conditions shouldn't be left to others
I have a friend that has it and yes it really is a condition. Just because your moms doctor said she didn't have it doesn't mean you don't. When it comes to your health the best answers you can get is go to your doctor. My friend gets tired and depressed all the time and is on serveral medications. Go to your doctor so he can rule it out and tell you what is really wrong with you. There is only one you so you need to take care of you.
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@FraYFaN09 (1560)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Fibromyalgia is a real disease because I know somebody who has it. Because of this disease, she has gone blind. Also she is a weak person and her bones aren't as strong as they used to be.
1 person likes this
@mobyfriend (1019)
• Netherlands
26 Jan 07
It is areal disease. I know several people who have it and you can clearly see that there is nothing psychosmatic about it. And if you are in pain and don't function no wonder you can get depressed. It's a pity that some doctors don't acknowledge it. Just try to find another docotor who will isten to you and try to foind out what is wrong physically with you. Eating well, Fysiotherapy or yoga and medication are ways to deal with the condition but they are not a care. Depression and mood swings could also be that you have a hormone inbalance nad maybe there is something wrong with your thyroid gland. Don't search for answers on the internet but find a doctor who will listen to you.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jan 07
Fibromyalgia is a REAL disorder, but it is not a disease. I have Fibromyalgia and have lived with it for the past two years. Anti depressants and aniexty medications help alot. If your mind feels better then your body feels better. I suggest that you talk to your Dr ASAP about your depression and get help. Depression can be serious if untreated. Good Luck
1 person likes this
@chertsy (3805)
• United States
26 Jan 07
No, tell your doctor that you want tests done for Fibromyalgia. I had xrays and blood work done. When I don't get a good night sleep for a few days, it comes back to bite me. The weather, ugh. I usually get pains in my legs, arms and back a day before it rains or get's cold. Tell your doctor all your symptoms. Good Luck with your doctor.
@debny711 (264)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Fibro is real. My sister has it and a few of my friends have it. It is very painful. I don't know how any doctor can say it isn't real. I see what these people go through.
• Canada
26 Jan 07
From what I've read and heard though, they say that Fibro is a fall back if they can't come up with anything else, and that it doesn't affect that many people. Perhaps your sister or her friends have something else, because it seems strange that so many people who know each other would have it.
@CatNPK (461)
• United States
13 Mar 07
If your main concern in depression, my first instinct is to say you don't have fibromyalgia (don't take my word as a diagnosis though). Most people with fibro go to the doctor because of physical pain, sometimes so severe that we can't get out of bed even though we really want to. Depression, especially if severe, can cause similar symptoms such as tiredness, achiness, etc. Reading symptoms online is a difficult way to diagnose yourself, because the severity of the symptoms make a big difference. Like others said before me, take it to a doctor. And anytime you are diagnosed, get a second opinion from a second doctor. Also, to clarify, fibromyalgia is not a condition, it's a syndrome. A condition has known causes and treatments, syndromes do not but rather are diagnosed based on a cluster of symptoms after other options are ruled out.
@seamonkey (1981)
• Ireland
12 Mar 07
I think it is a family of diseases and the true culprit hasn't been determined yet. In the meantime, they are all being lumped under the same heading. I hink Multiple Sclerosis is a similar problem, and in time, as medicine advances they will get it right. I feel badly for people in the meantime who are c onsidered to be malingerers or 'just depressed'.
@umavarma1 (929)
• India
26 Jan 07
The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread, diffuse pain, often including heightened sensitivity of the skin (Allodynia), tingling of the skin (often needlelike), achiness in the muscle tissues, prolonged muscle spasms, weakness in the limbs, and nerve pain. Chronic sleep disturbances are also characteristic of fibromyalgia, and some studies suggest that these sleep disturbances are the result of a sleep disorder called alpha wave interrupted sleep pattern, a condition in which sleep is frequently interrupted by bursts of brain activity similar to wakefulness. Deep(stage 4) sleep is seldom reached. Variability of Symptoms The following factors are said to temporarily increase the suffering of patients: Cold weather, especially when damp Changes in atmospheric pressure (such as with the onset of a cold front) Malnutrition, hunger, or starvation Physical activity Lack of deep (stage 4) sleep Increase of stress for more information :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibromyalgia#Symptoms
@lucy02 (5017)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Depression can cause physical pain too. Serotonin (the chemical lacking in most depression) also helps with pain tolerence too. I would tell the doctor everything you just told us but I would try natural methods first. I am on an antidepressant and they do have side effects. They are effective but you have to deal with weight gain and almost no libido.
@Elaeblue (145)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Talk with a doctor experienced in pain relief that is where you will get the necessary tests. Many doctors dont consider fribromyalgia a disease but rather a symptom of something else going on.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
26 Jan 07
talk to your doc. about your symptoms, For it is a real condition usually work related . I have it in my right shoulder and it can make you really sick if it gets inflamed I got it from working called repition work I used sanders and drills and different tools that did alot of jerking. Work places are getting to reconize it now just like corpral tunnel. When I went to a doc about it he really didnt know to much about it and kept telling me I needed a rotatorcup replacement but I kept bugging him about it till he finally sent me to a therapy place for treatments and trigger shots and gave me meds for inflamtion not any depessants. I now get flare ups if I do the ruond scubbing motion with right hand like when you are scubbing walls or sanding and it will put me in the bed and I can no longer take the med that I was giving for I became intalerant to it. Check with Doc for sure
@hariharbhat (1314)
• India
26 Jan 07
I am really sorry to learn about it. I believe you may have some suggestions in this site: http://www.fibromyalgia-support.org/
@Capsicum (1444)
• United States
26 Jan 07
FMS is a auto immune disease and normally ,is not the bottom of the problem . The type of doctor that would specialize in this would be a chiropractor, naturopath or a neurologist who deal with this type of problem regularly .I to have FMS and was on rx's for depression for 18 yrs. this can cause more problems than the FMS. Before taking a pill from your doc. who may not understand or except auto immune problems ,I would definitely get a proper dx. If you have 11 to 18 of the tender points a neurologist can test this, being able to rate how your muscles react then records it to a machine this will give you a good idea about what is really going on. Its sad we have so many doctors that are all to happy to throw pills at us to hide what is really going on. Best of luck
@birthlady (5613)
• United States
26 Jan 07
Yes, fibromyalgia is a real condition, several years ago it wasn't considered so, but times have changed. See your doctor and tell him your symptoms and let him make a diagnosis.