Saturday, May 19, 2007

Information On Fibromyalgia: What Might Cause This Disease

If you are concerned you may have fibromyalgia then you will be keen to find as much information on fibromyalgia as possible. This article aims to cover the theories concerning the possible causes of this debilitating condition.

Although initial studies have found women, between the ages of twenty and fifty-five, are most likely to develop fibromyalgia, there are still so many unknown factors about fibromyalgia that are yet to be understood.

There is a compelling reason why studies on fibromyalgia need to continue and that is the number of people afflicted by fibromyalgia is rapidly rising. In the United States, it is estimated that around 3 - 5% of the population have fibromyalgia.

That would translate to around five to seven million people. And the number is reportedly still rising. On a global scale, the volume of such patients is much greater.

Several more interesting facts about fibromyalgia are to be found in its immediate demographics. Women are far more likely to develop the disease compared to men, on a representative ratio of 20:1. Although the development of fibromyalgia does occur in older people and children it is less common. The average age for developing fibromyalgia is 45.

Symptoms are varied and tend to start slowly and build up over time, with the connection between the symptoms often overlooked. Because of the similarity to other conditions fibromyalgia is commonly misdiagnosed.

The main symptom is pain, and there are 18 common tender points on the body that are very sensitive to pressure or touch. These tender points tend to occur symmetrically on each side of the body.

Aside from pain other symptoms include fatigue, headaches, dizziness, stiff joints on waking, sleep disorder and mental fuzziness, sometimes termed 'brain fog'.

Though there are many studies that have already been conducted, the cause of fibromyalgia is unclear with a number of competing theories being put forward.

Sleep disorders are common in people with fibromyalgia and recent research may have changed the status from a symptom to a cause. Most fibromyalgia sufferers do not achieve the same levels of deep sleep as normal people do. It is during deep sleep that cells heal and rejuvenate and the brain sorts and stows all the day's experiences. Without deep sleep the body is unable to function at its normal capacity.

Immune system abnormalities may also be to blame. When the immune system is malfunctioning it can start to attack healthy cells, which causes inflammation and pain.

Genetics haven't been ruled out as a cause either because women with a close female relative with fibromyalgia have a high risk of developing the condition themselves.

Another theory is fibromyalgia is bought on by an accident or injury. A vast majority of sufferers experienced a physical trauma before the onset of the condition. Damage to the central nervous system can impact on the way the brain functions, lowering pain thresholds, disturbing sleeping patterns and impairing cognitive thought processes.

Keep reading to find out how to sign up for the Fibromyalgia newsletter and discover natural ways to overcome fibromyalgia.

If you are concerned that you have fibromyalgia then make an appointment with your doctor and discuss with them information on fibromyalgia and whether further testing is required.