Many individuals who are living with chronic pain, exhaustion, forgetfulness or another common symptom are often likely to suggest or lean towards Fibromyalgia as their diagnosis.  You are able to visit any message board, or online support groups for Fibromyalgia and you will find someone asking “I have these symptoms, do I have Fibro?”.  Only a Doctor is able to diagnosis Fibromyalgia within an individual.  

There are currently no diagnostic laboratory tests or a generally accepted, objective tests for Fibromyalgia.

How is Fibro diagnosed then?

Upon visiting your Doctor, explaining your symptoms, a series of tests will be, should be run.  Although this is not to confirm the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia within yourself, this is done to exclude other diagnoses, diseases or other health problems that could explain the symptoms you are experiencing.  
A few of the Conditions that can mimic Fibromyalgia are;  

Low thyroid hormone levels (hypothyroidism)

Vitamin D. insufficiency     

Parathyroid Disease (causing elevated bloody calcium level)       

Muscle Disease causing muscle pain (such as Polymyositis)

Bone Diseases causing bone pain (such as Paget Disease)

Elevated Blood Calcium (Hypercalcemia)

Infectious Diseases (Hepatitis, Epstein Barr Virus, Aids)

There is also;  

Lyme Disease     

MS  

Cancer

Should the tests that are run by your Doctor(s) come back  negative, Fibromyalgia may be mentioned to you, and a referral to a  Rheumatologist (a medical Doctor who specializes in Arthritis and related  diseases), or a Pain Specialist.  These two Doctors will have worked with Fibromyalgia and related disease on a more intimate level than a GP (General Practitioner).  
 
You have already been through blood tests, x-rays, and in some cases CT scans and MRIs’, how are the Doctors now going to confirm their hunch that you are living with Fibromyalgia?

The diagnosis for Fibromyalgia is made purely on clinical  grounds, based on a Dr.’s history and physical examination. The Doctor (whether it is your GP or a specialist) will go over your history and may ask you a few questions.  From there the Doctors will use a set of criteria (most common is the American College of Rheumatology’s criteria).   The Doctors will be working with two set criterias to base their diagnosis off of.  Which are;  

        1.       History of widespread  pain (pain is considered to be widespread when it affects all four quadrants of  the body, that is, you must have pain in both right and left sides as well as  above and below the waist to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia) lasting more than 3  months;  

        2.       The presence of tender  spots.  For a diagnosis a person  must have 11 or more of the 18 tender points.  One of these predesignated sites is  considered a true tender point only if a person feels pain upon the digital  palpation of an approximate of force 4 kilograms to the site.   A tender point has to be painful at palpation not just “tender”.  Pain may be present at other sites as well, but  the 18 standard possible sites on the body are the criteria used for  classification.

The criteria mentioned above was the 1990 Criteria for the  Classification of Fibromyalgia. Recently the criteria was extended.  The American College of Rheumatology had extended the criteria in 2010, after some studies (please feel free to email me and I will send you an article regarding the study).  The Criteria Needed For Fibromyalgia Diagnosis as set out by the American College of Rheumatology in 2010 is;

1.       Pain and symptoms over the past week, based on the total of number of painful areas out of the 18 parts of the body.  Plus level of severity of these symptoms;              
          i.      Fatigue                                                              
          ii.      Waking  Unrefreshed                                                             
          iii.      Cognitive (memory or  thought) problems  Plus number of other general physical symptoms.

2.       Symptoms lasting at least three months at a similar level.

3.       No other health problems that would explain the pain and other symptoms.

Whether the test is not performed correctly, or the individual performing the test is not aware of the guidelines, or another  reason Fibromyalgia is still often misdiagnosed.  Educate yourself, and keep yourself up to date on the latest guidelines for diagnosing Fibromyalgia. 

The following websites were uses in  attaining research for the above blog entry

http://www.medicinet.com/fibromyalgia/page3.htm
 http://arthritis.about.com/od/arthqa/f/fmsdiagnosis.htm
 http://www.arthritis.about.com/od/fibromyalgia/g/tenderpoints.htm
http://www.nfra.net/Diagnost.htm
 


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