Are You At Risk Of Developing Fibromyalgia?

It’s a question many people ask themselves when they begin to experience chronic pain. Many seek a doctor’s opinion, and until recently, it has been dismissed as either something else or hypochondria. It has been recently acknowledged that fibromyalgia is real and that its sufferers are not mentally ill.

Fibromyalgia Affects Millions

Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 5 million people in the United States, with most of those suffering from the condition being women. The causes of fibromyalgia are not yet understood, but extensive research has revealed some important clues as to why fibromyalgia pain may be so severe in people with the disease. This could also help researchers start to identify the people who may be at the biggest risk of developing fibromyalgia.

Pain Linked To A Dysfunction In The Brain

The pain and other symptoms which are characteristic of fibromyalgia are thought to be due to a dysfunction in the parts of the brain which process pain signals. “Fibromyalgia patients have been shown to have lower levels of brain chemicals that inhibit pain signals, including serotonin and norepinephrine, as well as higher levels of brain chemicals that cause pain signals, including substance P and glutamate,” explains rheumatologist Chad S. Boomershine, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the division of rheumatology and immunology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. These differences in neurochemistry may provide an explanation of why fibromyalgia sufferers are especially sensitive to pressure, temperature and light which do not affect others.

Next: Research

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