Fibromyalgia is a musculoskeletal disorder that causes fatigue, widespread muscle and joint pain and memory and mood issues, according to WebMD. And while fibromyalgia is the most common musculoskeletal condition after osteoarthritis, it’s still not well understood by the medical world.
Women are actually much more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia than men, and at this time there is no cure for the disorder. Since fibromyalgia can cause symptoms that are similar to osteoarthritis, it’s important to understand the signs, symptoms and risk factors that are associated with the disorder to make sure you’re treated properly.
There are three risk factors that increase your chances of developing fibromyalgia, according to the Mayo Clinic:
1. Sex. Women are more likely to develop the disorder than men.
2. Family history. If a family member has fibromyalgia, you are at an increased risk of developing it.
3. Rheumatic disease. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you might have a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia often causes widespread pain and fatigue, and it can cause certain parts of the body to be painful to touch — like they’ve been overworked or pulled. The disorder also can affect your sleeping habits, usually limiting the amount of restful sleep you can achieve, and cause depression. Other symptoms, according to WebMD, include:
– Abdominal pain
– Chronic headaches
– Dryness in your mouth, nose and eyes
– Hypersensitivity to cold and/or heat
– Inability to concentrate
– Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
– Numbness or tingling in your fingers and feet
To determine if you have fibromyalgia, your doctor must eliminate other possible causes for your symptoms, such as giving you blood tests to discount other conditions that cause pain and fatigue. Once your doctor has determined you have fibromyalgia, treating the disease may include some of the following, according to the Mayo Clinic:
– Pain relievers. These can be anything from over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen to prescription pain-relief products. Pain relievers are used to lessen discomfort and help you sleep better through the night.
– Antidepressants. These medications can help with the pain and fatigue that comes with fibromyalgia.
– Antiseizure drugs. These kinds of drugs have actually proven helpful in reducing the pain of those suffering from fibromyalgia.