Fibromyalgia is a medical condition which results in pain throughout the body. This medical condition also causes fatigue and other such related issues. People who suffer from fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain in comparison to those who do not suffer from this complication.
Incidentally, fibromyalgia has been identified as a common chronic pain condition. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, 10 million people have been thought to have been affected by this medical condition in the US.
Though doctors have not been able to pinpoint the exact causes of fibromyalgia, there are several risk factors which lead to the development of this condition.
Before we dwell on the causes of fibromyalgia, it is vital to understand the underlying symptoms which lead to its development.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia
There are various symptoms of fibromyalgia, and the most prominent ones of these are aching on both sides of the body, trouble in remembering and concentrating, trouble in sleeping, pain in the abdomen, anxiety, depression, painful menstrual periods, numbness in hands and feet, and sensitivity to light or temperature.
Causes of fibromyalgia
Though nothing much can be said with certainty on the causes of fibromyalgia, it is a combination of factors which is responsible for the cause and development of fibromyalgia.
People with fibromyalgia suffer from the problem that the pain signals are not processed in the usual manner. Due to abnormal levels of chemicals in the brain and spinal cord, the nerves, which are the carrier of these signals, make people more sensitive to pain. This is one of the most common causes of fibromyalgia, in which a sufferer would experience excruciating pain even it would seem like a minor pain to a person who is not suffering from fibromyalgia.
Imbalance in hormones
Certain hormones including norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin help the body in processing the pain. If the levels of these hormones are less than normal, it might not only interrupt the pain signals but also intensify the sensitivity to such kind of pain. An imbalance in hormones is also one of the causes of fibromyalgia.
It is also known that fibromyalgia might have a genetic connection and runs across generations. There could be an unidentified genetic abnormality which increases the risk incidence of some people to fibromyalgia. Sometimes genes also control the way in which the body regulates the pain occurrence and response.
One of the causes of fibromyalgia is that people with fibromyalgia carry one or number of genes which make them react in a stronger manner to any stimulus which other normal people do not even perceive.
Role of triggers
The role of triggers also becomes significant in enhancing the various causes of fibromyalgia. Sometimes people suffer from this medical condition after undergoing any emotional or physical trauma or after overcoming any infection present. Though these factors in no way cause fibromyalgia these act as triggers for onset in people who are prone to this condition. These conditions alter the response of the nervous system to such pains and cause fibromyalgia. Besides this, there could be some more triggers which include infections as flu, surgery or even childbirth.
Disturbance in sleep
People who suffer from fibromyalgia either do not go to sleep early or spend most of their time in the deepest stage of their sleep. Abnormal sleep patterns have also been reported in many other diseases and are also being considered one of the common causes of fibromyalgia; however, research is being done to confirm this.
Risk factors associated with fibromyalgia
There are numerous risk factors which can be associated with fibromyalgia. Some or all of these indicate the presence of fibromyalgia, a condition for which medical attention should be sought.
Fibromyalgia is commonly found in women in comparison to men. Doctors, however, believe that this is because women experience and perceive pain in a different manner than men. Their reproductive hormone estrogen makes them behave in a different manner. This is the reason as to why the level of pain fluctuates during the menstrual cycle as levels of estrogen rise and fall. Menopause is another factor which is a potential risk for fibromyalgia.
Age and family history
Most people who suffer from fibromyalgia are in the age group of 20 to 50 and if a close family member of any person has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the risk of this disease condition is more in their family members.
People who suffer from rheumatic diseases suffer pain in their muscles, bones, and joints. Such people are known to suffer from fibromyalgia more in comparison to those who do not have a rheumatic disease.
Sometimes fibromyalgia also sets in depression and anxiety among people and such people do not react to any medications which might be given to them during the course of treatment.
However, the disease is not life-threatening and if a person makes suitable adjustments to their life, dealing with the challenges of fibromyalgia will become easier.