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Typically, the pain that patients face should have been ongoing for a minimum of three months for a correct diagnosis. However, as disabling as the pain is, it does not result in any deformity or damage to internal organs. This is what differentiates fibromyalgia from numerous other rheumatic conditions for instance, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and polymyositis. This is because these conditions are typified by tissue inflammation that results in damage to muscles or internal organs and deformity to joints (Shiel, 2012).
During diagnosis, pain is mapped out from the upper and lower parts of the waist, either sides of the body and the axial skeleton. this accompanied with fatigue, sleep interruptions and non-restorative sleep should lead the physician to diagnosing the patient with fibromyalgia. In addition, the incidence and intensity of the pain is noted to verify the progression of the condition (Lesley et al, pg. 458).
Furthermore, in establishing fibromyalgia in patients, the tenderness and pain should be verified using a force of 4kg on a minimum of 11 of 18 tender points within the body. Generally, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia relies on information from the patient, since its existence cannot be determined by objective medical findings, radiographic anomalies or regular laboratory tests. The information provided by the patient indicates the exact location of the pain and its severity as this will help in finding the proper treatment (Lawson, 2009). Notably also, is that even though there are no blood tests or X-Rays that specifically point to diagnosis of fibromyalgia, there is a need to carry out blood tests to exclude other medical conditions and laboratory tests to explain causes of certain symptoms (Lesley et al, pg. 462). Causes and Risk factors Because of the condition being present within families, for example, between mothers and their daughters, researchers have arrived at the conclusion that a genetic component may be the cause. It is commonly preceded by a physical trauma in the form of a rigorous disease/injury. This sets off the progression of the condition with the central nervous system acting as the point of origin as patients experience pain to stimuli that are not ordinarily experienced by other individuals (Fibromyalgia Fact Sheet, n.d). Over 80% of persons affected by fibromyalgia are women that fall under the age bracket of 35-55. The condition is onset by pathological conditions in some patients while in others by somatization subsequent to traumatic events. Although not recurrent, the elderly, men and children have been seen to be affected by the condition. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus contribute to the risk of developing this condition (What causes fibromyalgia, 2012). Continuous studies have also shown that fibromyalgia patients have advanced levels of a chemical signal known as substance P found in the nervous system, and within their spinal fluid a nerve growth factor. Moreover, patients exhibit levels that are minimal, of chemical serotonin that originates in the brain. This suggests super-sensitivity in the central nervous system particularly around the brain, due to the severity of the pain that patients experience. This has led scientists to highlight that pain perception among fibromyalgia patients is distorted (What causes Fibromyalgia, 2012). Symptoms The primary symptom of fibromyalgia, which is pain, is attributed to