What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common syndrome that is quite difficult to identify and understand and is usually characterized by diffuse musculoskeletal pain and tenderness in certain areas of the body. It also involves prolonged periods of fatigue and tiredness even after sleeping.
Studies say that fibromyalgia is one of the most common syndromes in the UK. It is recognised as being the third most common syndrome diagnosed in rheumatology next to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Approximately 14.6 of patients have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia according to a 1983 study by Wolfe et al. It affects approximately six million individuals in the United States alone and occurs more in women than in men. Even people who appear healthy could be suffering from the condition.
Fibromyalgia is considered to be an enigmatic syndrome as it is not that easy to identify. Even with regular physical exams and several diagnostic tests it remains one of the many conditions that has yet to be disclosed.
Several research studies have been made on fibromyalgia but the history of the disease has not been fully explained. Though it is not classified as a life-threatening or degenerative disease, it is life limiting. This is a chronic condition that can be long term but also has the possibility for long periods of remission.
One study expressed that the average length of time of the disease is five to eight years. This is from onset to diagnosis, which indicates that fibromyalgia is a chronic condition.
Another study showed that in 81 patients of them have had a two-month remission and that 6 of them have had a repeat remission. The average remission is found to be 20 years, the median is 12 months, but the average time can be up to 34 months. According to the same study it was found that on average the condition lasted approximately 13 years.
In a separate research study undertaken with thirty-nine fibromyalgia patients, it was established that in the three years since the study was first started, there were no changes in patients’ symptoms.