Risk factors for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is thought to affect around 5 percent of the population in the United States, though the disorder is still not entirely understood. The symptoms include such things as chronic pain in various parts of the body, as well as exhaustion and sleep disturbances. Unfortunately, these symptoms are so common with other diseases and disorders that it usually takes years to rule out all other conditions and attain a solid diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
There are no clinical or laboratory tests to diagnose the disease; a diagnosis is based entirely on the patient reporting their symptoms and a manual examination that identifies pain in all four quadrants of the body for a period of 3 months or longer. In addition to reported symptoms and pain, a doctor will test the patient for tenderness or pain in 18 specific tender points. If at least eleven of these points show pain or tenderness and all other conditions are ruled out, a diagnosis of fibromyalgia may occur.
The only way to treat fibromyalgia is to treat individual symptoms, such as pain and sleep disturbances. Many doctors recommend pain relievers, muscle relaxers, sleeping aids and antidepressants. Some people combine these treatments with therapy or alternative health treatments such as massage or acupuncture.
There are certain risk factors for the disease to be aware of:
1. Being female - Although the reasons are unclear, fibromyalgia affects more women than men. Researchers are not sure whether men are less likely to report symptoms or whether sex differences are the cause.
2. Being Under Stress - Studies have suggested that high amounts of stress may be a factor in developing fibromyalgia.
3. Genetics - Some studies have found that those with fibromyalgia in their families are at a higher risk for developing the disorder.
4. Being 35 years of age - Fibromyalgia can affect people of any age, from small children to the elderly, but is most common in those who are 20 – 60 years of age. Regardless, studies have noted that the disease is most often reported in those around age 35.
5. Having a Pre-existing Rheumatic Disease - Studies have found those with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, as well as other rheumatic diseases, are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.
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