Although a lot of advances have been made in this field (and in the medical field in general), Fibromyalgia is still a relatively unknown and mysterious syndrome that affects millions of Americans and their daily lives.
What makes this syndrome so mysterious is precisely because specialists haven’t yet been able to agree on a clear set of symptoms and causes that lead to its development.
The symptoms of Fibromyalgia are very commonly overlapped with those of other medical conditions, such as themajor depressive disorder, Arthritis, Lupus, thyroid-related disorders and so on. This makes Fibromyalgia very hard to diagnose and thus, very difficult to treat as well.
Misdiagnosis is quite commonly encountered in the case of those suffering from Fibromyalgia. The most common misdiagnosis is either that of arthritis or that of chronic fatigue syndrome.
To be able to put the correct diagnosis, a doctor will have to run a series of tests, as well as to inquire thoroughly the patient about certain symptoms he/she may show.
Being very honest about these symptoms when you talk to your doctor is crucial in diagnosing Fibromyalgia. For instance, he/she may discover certain tender points around your body (which is one of the major red flags in the case of this syndrome), but as long as you do not tell him/her about the pain you feel in those areas, he/she will not be able to correctly diagnose you.
Depending on the case, some doctors will run tests that are usually ran in the case of other medical conditions, either to rule them out or to see if you have developed them as comorbid conditions.
For instance, he/she will check your thyroid functions, your general state of mind, your joints, the way your digestive system works, and so on. Also, under certain circumstances, he/she will have to run genetics tests to see if you are predisposed to develop Fibromyalgia or not.
A complete blood count will most likely be required first and foremost, since this will show if you have any kind of deficiencies, if you haven’t developed anemia and if there is something else to analyze (that may trigger other medical conditions than Fibromyalgia). Furthermore, the medical professional will check your liver and your kidney to see if the chemistry of your body is in order.
Although Fibromyalgia signs will not show on X-rays, some medical professionals may want to run them as well, since they will probably want to exclude the possibility of a serious disease. If everything else has been ruled out, your doctor will analyze how long you have been feeling pain, how much it lasted and how many tender points are painful on your body.
Although all these tests are generally related to other medical conditions than Fibromyalgia, there is one blood test that will be used to tell if someone has developed this syndrome or not. This test is called “FM/a”. This is a relatively newcomer to the entire “business” related to Fibromyalgia and its developers believe it to be very accurate.
The results they obtained through this test has been compared with those obtained in the case of patients suffering from other similar medical conditions (including Lupus and arthritis), as well as with the results obtained in the case of healthy patients. According to the researchers that developed this test, the results are definitive and the entire test only asks for one blood sample from the patient.
Also, they believe that the sensitivity of this test is comparable with that of the HIV test, which makes it quite reliable and safe when it comes to its results.
The downfall with this FM/a test though is related to the fact that, at least for now, it costs a lot (almost $750) and that not many of the patients out there may be able to afford it (especially since it is probably not covered by the insurance policies they have).
Furthermore, due to the mysterious nature of this syndrome, they may have had to run previous tests to get to the point where they are suspects of Fibromyalgia, which raises the costs of diagnosing the syndrome even more.
All in all, this test may be helpful for a lot of people out there, especially if they can afford it. One single test to diagnose Fibromyalgia gives the patients the accuracy they need and thus, taking benefit of the adequate treatment sooner, rather than later.
If you cannot afford it though, talking to a specialist and being very open about your symptoms is absolutely crucial if you want to start improving your health as soon as possible.