Understanding the Fibromyalgia Diagnosis Process
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disorder that starts in the brain. The pain responses in people with this condition are overly sensitive and react more strongly to pain stimuli. The symptoms include widespread pain all over the body and can also cause mood and sleep problems for patients. But, since these are all symptomatic of other diseases and disorders, and because the symptoms are not always consistent, fibromyalgia often can be misdiagnosed, which makes the road for these patients long, painful, and isolating. While doctors usually rely on a grouping of symptoms to reach a proper diagnosis, there is also a blood test that is used to confirm the disorder, called FM/a.
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that begins in the brain and whose symptoms include pain spread all throughout the body, leading to trouble sleeping and changes in mood. Since the symptoms are not consistent and can vary from person to person, often, this medical condition is misdiagnosed. Most of the time, doctors prefer to rely on a grouping of the symptoms to reach a proper diagnosis, but there is a blood test that can be done to confirm this disorder, known as FM/a.
Not every individual who has pain in the body has fibromyalgia. However, those who suspect their pain is due to this disease should visit a rheumatologist who can correctly verify the presence of the disease and at the same time eliminate the possibility of any other disease as well. The main issue in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is that the symptoms tend to mimic other medical conditions. The pain itself is known to be categorized into various groups such as nociceptive pain, inflammatory pain, and neuropathic pain. Certain guidelines have been set up as well as specific tests to diagnose this condition. The baseline of these tests involves the spread of pain throughout the entire body, which is continuous and lasts for a minimum of three months. This pain is known to affect both sides of the body as well as below and above the waist region. It is also necessary to carry out tests on these tender regions or points. This is done by applying pressure on certain parts of the body to see if there is any kind of reaction felt. Currently, there are about eighteen tender points known to be linked with this medical condition, and they are also located at the four quadrants of the body. One of the main hurdles in the diagnosis of the pain is that it is not always persistent for a period of three months and in all regions; it can come and go. Doctors can also recommend to carry out a blood test to identify certain markers that are known to be produced by the immune system in individuals suffering from FM. They can carry out a CBC as well to measure the patient’s red blood cell, white blood cell, platelet, and hemoglobin counts. This is done to rule out the possibility of another medical condition. A red cell segmentation rate can also be done to get an index of the level of inflammation present in the body.
FM is not an easy disease to diagnose, but there has been a great deal of research in the past few decades in this field to better understand the disease, new ways of diagnosis, methods for treating the disease, and gaining acceptance of the legitimacy of fibromyalgia as well.