How is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?

Doctors often lament the difficulty of diagnosing
fibromyalgia. Till now, physicians are still at a loss on what test to use to
diagnose the presence of fibromyalgia in the body. In fact, sufferers of
fibromyalgia often post normal results when put through x-rays, blood tests,
and scans.

Much of the difficulty owes to the fact that the symptoms of
fibromyalgia vary widely and overlap with other conditions. For example,
problems such as an underactive thyroid gland, what is commonly referred to as
hypothyroidism, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis manifest the same symptoms. Therefore, it becomes difficult for physicians to pinpoint and unerringly attribute a symptom to fibromyalgia when there is a possibility it is due to some other ailment afflicting the body.

Lately, though, doctors have resorted to conducting tests on
other ailments that are easily discernible through blood tests, and once they
rule out all other diseases that manifest similar symptoms as fibromyalgia, the
only logical conclusion remains that the underlying cause of the symptoms is

In the recent past, doctors could diagnose the presence of fibromyalgia
by feeling certain tender points in specific parts of a person’s body. These
tender points include the upper chest, upper buttocks, knees, hips, front and
back of the neck, elbows, and etc. With advances in science and methods of clinical observation, the health sector came up with a raft of guidelines that
healthcare professionals should employ to make a fibromyalgia diagnosis. These guidelines include:

  • Unusual fatigue and lethargy as you wake up in
    the morning
  • Lapses in cognitive functions such as
    understanding and memory
  • Widespread pain in the body persisting for at
    least three months.

As earlier noted, these symptoms vary widely from one person
to another and daily. For some people, the symptoms can all over sudden worsen
causing flare ups. However, the worst part, according to confessions of
sufferers of this condition, is the fatigue and lethargy part and the fact that
from time to time, their cognitive functions are seriously impaired. They
cannot think clearly or remember stuff – a phenomenon that is termed as
brainfog or fibrofog.

The pain may be localized, i.e. affecting a few select areas
of the body, or widespread, affecting the entire body. For the pain to be
considered widespread, it has to be ascertained that it affects all the four
quadrants of one’s body for a period of at least three months. The four
quadrants include the left and right sides of one’s body as well as below and
above the waist. The pain worsens to excruciating levels in extreme weather
conditions such as dampness, cold, or hot temperatures.

It is important to note that the symptoms highlighted are by
no means exhaustive as there are less frequent and possibly less common symptoms of fibromyalgia that lead to poor blood circulation. Thanks to the poor blood circulation that fibromyalgia often occasions, the sufferer could experience
swelling, numbness, or tingling in the feet and hands. The sufferer may also
endure headaches, extreme irritability, urgent need to pass out urine, and
uncomfortable or irritable bowels. The uncomfortable bowels can, however, be
also diagnosed as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

In conclusion, if you manifest any of the stated symptoms, it is important you see your physician to start the diagnosis.





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