Written by Cassandra Merkling (last updated September 15, 2009)
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, which means that it is not related to any identified cause. Fibromyalgia is a condition of feeling widespread pain, along with some especially tender points. It results in poor sleep and quite a lot of psychological stress. Symptoms include the aforementioned pain and sleep problems, as well as fatigue and a myriad of other difficulties, from irritable bowel and bladder, to neurological symptoms.
Those with fibromyalgia have an extreme sensitivity to pain and research suggests that the way the condition occurs is in the central nervous system, where the pain is amplified for the person who has fibromyalgia. Although the cause is still far from diagnosed, the condition is very real and can be extremely difficult to live with.
Fibromyalgia can be found in a good percentage of the population. It is estimated that seven to ten million people live with it in the United States alone. Anyone can have it, no matter ethnicity or age, though it becomes increasingly common as people age, so that by age eighty, eight percent of adults suffer from it.
Diagnosis is based on the doctor's taking of a history as well as the discovery of several tender spots within the body's muscle. There is currently no known way for the doctors to test a person for fibromyalgia. If you think you have this condition, look for a doctor who has experience with it so that you can be more certain that she will recognize it if she sees it in you.
The outlook for a person who has fibromyalgia is only as grim as he decides it has to be. There is no present cure for the condition, but it can be dealt with more easily if the afflicted has a positive attitude, determination, a strong network of psycho-social support, and a good sense of humor. Many people worry that fibromyalgia is a precursor to a more serious condition, but this concern is rarely realized. Chances are, if you are going to develop a more serious condition, you already had and knew about it before you were diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
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