Fibromyalgia is a disease about which much is not yet known. Because of the nature of the symptoms, it is often misdiagnosed as other conditions. For this reason, fibromyalgia tests can be a good idea for those who suspect they may be suffering from this condition.
If you suspect that you may have this disorder, you will want to learn more about some of the fibromyalgia lab tests that are available to you. Read on to find out about the symptoms, causes, management, and diagnosis of this disease.
Fibromyalgia Lab Tests
For some time, there was no known way to test specifically for fibromyalgia. For this reason, diagnosis often consists of testing to rule out other diseases. Doctors most often identify a condition as fibromyalgia by process of elimination.
Some of the diseases that have similar symptoms to fibromyalgia include hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis. Often, doctors will perform blood tests to rule out these conditions. This includes testing such as a complete blood count test, an antinuclear antibody test to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, and thyroid hormone tests to rule out hypothyroidism.
Recently, there has been promising evidence to suggest that something called an FM/a test may be effective in diagnosing fibromyalgia. This test focuses on the level of cytokines within a blood sample. Abnormal levels of cytokines have been linked to fibromyalgia.
However, more clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of this method of testing. The process of elimination is still a widely used method of a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a disease that affects the central nervous system. It is characterized by widespread pain throughout the body. People with fibromyalgia may be more physically sensitive. This is due to abnormalities in how the nervous system processes pain.
Fibromyalgia typically manifests itself in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. It is estimated that around 4 million adults (or 2% of the population) in the US suffer from this condition.
Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia
Although much is still not known about this disease and its causes, there are some things that can put you at a higher risk. Women, for example, are around 7 times more likely to have fibromyalgia than men. It is more common in adults, although children and elderly people can also develop it.
Certain diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can put patients at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia. It is now believed that in many cases, family history may also have a part to play.
Causes of Fibromyalgia
The exact causes of fibromyalgia are still unknown. However, there are certain situations or conditions that can be triggers for the development of fibromyalgia.
Going through a stressful or traumatic event can precipitate the development of fibromyalgia. This could be a death of a loved one, an abusive relationship, a car accident, or any other type of physically or mentally stressful situation. Post-traumatic stress disorder has been linked to the development of fibromyalgia.
There is also some evidence to suggest that there could be a hereditary element to the condition. Scientists believe people may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia because of genes inherited from their parents.
Signs and Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia symptoms are similar to those of many other conditions. This makes it oftentimes difficult to diagnose.
The most common and prominent symptom is pain throughout the entire body. Even the slightest touch can feel painful to someone with fibromyalgia.
Pain can feel like a dull ache or a sharp sensation. For those with fibromyalgia, pain tends to be widespread and long-lasting. Patients may also experience sensitivity to other things such as light, sound, and temperature.
Other symptoms include fatigue, difficulty sleeping, brain fog, and stiffness in the joints. Fibromyalgia sufferers can find themselves experiencing difficulty moving after holding the same position for too long. Brain fog can come in the form of difficulty learning new things, memory loss, and feelings of dizziness.
In some patients, fibromyalgia can cause other conditions such as IBS, anxiety, or depression to develop. In women, it can often cause painful periods.
Fibromyalgia and Fibromyalgia Tests: Frequently Asked Questions
Because we do not know enough about fibromyalgia, it is common for patients not to have heard of it or know how it is diagnosed. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to fibromyalgia and fibromyalgia tests.
Is there a Cure for Fibromyalgia?
At the moment, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia. It is a chronic disease, meaning it tends to last a long time in most patients. However, lifestyle changes and medication can help with the symptoms.
How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
There are many different courses of treatment for fibromyalgia. Often, painkillers are prescribed to help with the pain levels. Doctors often also recommend antidepressants to many patients.
Other treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and occupational therapy, can have a positive effect. Your doctor may also suggest lifestyle changes such as exercise programs, a special diet, or relaxation techniques.
How Can I Be Tested for Fibromyalgia?
Research is being carried out into FM/a testing for fibromyalgia. However, the most common method of diagnosis remains via the process of elimination.
Tests such as erythrocyte sedimentation rate, cyclic citrullinated peptide test, and rheumatoid factor will be carried out to rule out various conditions. Doctors also look for the presence of pain in four of five key areas of the body that has lasted for more than three months.
Order Your Fibromyalgia Lab Tests Today
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Affordable, accessible, and confidential testing is guaranteed. If you're looking for answers and peace of mind regarding your health, order your fibromyalgia tests today.