A young woman into her 30s was wondering why even after several consultations and prolonged treatment her mother still had general fatigue as well as pain in the body with other multiple symptoms. Examining the case, I found out that the mother suffered from fibromyalgia, because of which she could not do normal daily activities or complete some tasks.
In fact, many doctors misdiagnose the disease, as it is accompanied by symptoms similar to fatigue and muscle pain due to increased exertion and pressure over the issue. Though scientists continue to study this disease, its exact causes are still unknown. Not long ago, they believed that its causes were linked to sleep disruption and a lack of Serotonin.
Fibromyalgia, which is a hereditary condition, can be passed down from generation to generation. However, studies have shown that although this is the case in some families, it is not the case in others!
Nevertheless, it was found that 4 per cent of the world’s population, especially women, suffer from fibromyalgia and typically develop between the ages of 30 and 50. Interestingly, such a syndrome in many cases appears to be triggered by a physically or emotionally stressful event, such as an injury or infection, giving birth, having an operation, death of a loved one and problems with the thyroid.
Broadly speaking, the disease is accompanied by many symptoms, like pain in different areas of the body, the most important of which are around the knees and pelvis, usually on both sides. In addition to sleep disorder accompanied by difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning, the patient suffer from headache and a whistling in the ears that leads to lack of focus and mood changes. Patients also suffer from impaired functioning of the digestive system with irritable bowel syndrome, apart from depression and increased pain sensitivity.
Unfortunately, doctors diagnose this disease on the basis of information given by the patient about many symptoms, but there is no clear and easy tool to provide a quick answer. Although fibromyalgia is currently incurable and treatment is limited to exercises and antidepressants, I believe that one of the most important measures that helps improve a person’s condition is to lead a healthy lifestyle. It will be great for the patient to sleep at a specific time and having sunbath plus taking vitamin D and doing physical exercise, because analgesics do not always benefit people with this disease. Also, eating vegetables, fruits, fish, grains and nuts will be beneficial. Always stress and emotions must be controlled.
Researchers have found for the first time a preliminary evidence that the disease can be detected through blood samples, paving the way for a simple and rapid diagnosis, as there is nothing worse than being in a gray area, where you do not know which disease you have.
Many individuals suffer from fibromyalgia and I must say that the patients should keep their condition under control by changing the lifestyle and try to remain calm and positive throughout.
Dr Yousuf Ali al Mulla, MD, Ministry of Health, is a medical innovator and educator. For any queries regarding the content of the column he can be contacted at: email@example.com