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Fibromyalgia Week: Day 3

Today, I am sharing some thoughts about what causes fibromyalgia.  Current understanding of this debilitating disorder suggests that central pain processing in fibromyalgia patients is altered.  Somehow, the central nervous system (CNS)  has some faulty wiring problems, resulting in an amplified physical pain. In the adult population, it seems that more women are affected by fibromyalgia than are men.  In children and adolescents the gender ratio is 1:1.



There are a few theories out there as to the root cause of fibromyalgia.  Some ideas:

1)Genetic Basis--it seems that fibromyalgia "runs in families", suggesting that there is a specific gene  that may be involved in the perception of pain.

2)Biochemical Imbalances--Some findings in fibromyalgia show that these patients have very low levels of serotonin,which has been linked to problems with sleep,pain perception,headaches, and mood disorders. Other studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia have elevated levels of substance P in their cerebrospinal fluid. These high levels of Substance P, a neurotransmitter, may be responsible for the heightened pain perception central to this condition.   Yet other studies have looked at the hypothalamic- pituitary-adrenal axis and have noted dysfunction in fibromyalgic persons.  Still other theories have been proposed that link fibromyalgia to ADHD ,food sensitivities, and other endocrine disturbances .

3)Sleep Disorder?--It has been noted that sleep disturbances are common in up to 96% of patients with fibromyalgia.  There is a theory that suggests that these sleep disturbances could result in disturbances of Human Growth Hormone in this population.  Human growth hormone is produced during delta sleep and has a role in tissue repair. Since fibromyalgia patients often have sleep issues and low levels of growth hormone, this is certainly a distinct possibility.

4)Past Traumatic Events--In our modern society, many people have faced all sorts of traumatic events during their lifetime.  Most of us have experienced, or know people who have experienced these things--physical abuse, divorce, automobile accidents, a parent's death, drug abuse, alcoholism...Some researchers believe that some individuals do not cope with these situations as well as others, and that the stress of these situations may be at least partially responsible for the development of the condition we know as fibromyalgia.

Tomorrow(Day 4)... What Treatments Are Available For Fibromyalgia?

repost from 2014

Source: Fibromyalgia 2nd Edition
               Nikita Katz MD PhD
               Institute for Natural Resources August 2009


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