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عدد الرسائل : 85
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تاريخ التسجيل : 23/02/2008

مُساهمةموضوع: Fibromyalgia   الإثنين فبراير 25, 2008 4:37 am

Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects as many as 1 in every 50 people, is characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. While the exact cause or causes of this condition are unknown, many researchers currently believe that fibromyalgia centers around possible problems with how the central nervous system processes pain. Treatment options for fibromyalgia may include lifestyle changes, medications, and complementary or alternative treatments.

What Is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a common and chronic condition characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. The word fibromyalgia comes from the Latin term for fibrous tissue (fibro) and the Greek terms for muscle (myo) and pain (algia).

Who Is Affected by Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia affects 3 million to 6 million people, or as many as 1 in every 50 Americans. For unknown reasons, between 80 percent and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women; however, men and children can also have this disorder. Most people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia during middle age.

People with certain other conditions may be more likely to have fibromyalgia. These other conditions may include diseases such as:

• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus)
• Ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis).

Women who have a family member with fibromyalgia may be more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves. Other risk factors for fibromyalgia can include:

• Being exposed to physically or emotionally stressful or traumatic events, such as a car accident, surgery, or being deployed to war.

• Having injuries to the body caused by performing the same action over and over again.

Cause of Fibromyalgia
The cause or causes of fibromyalgia are unknown. In fact, there may be a number of factors involved. Most researchers currently believe that fibromyalgia centers around possible problems with how the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) processes pain. For some reason, a person with fibromyalgia reacts strongly to stimuli that most people would not perceive as painful. This amplifying of pain is generally known as "central sensitization."

Some researchers speculate that a person's genes may be involved. However, this gene (or genes) -- if it, in fact, exists -- has not been identified. Other researchers are studying the impact of certain chemicals or blood flow problems in the brain.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
The most common symptoms in people with fibromyalgia include widespread muscle pain, fatigue, and multiple tender points. Tender points are specific places on the body -- on the neck, shoulders, back, hips, and upper and lower extremities -- where people with fibromyalgia feel pain in response to slight pressure.

People with fibromyalgia may also have other symptoms, such as:
• Trouble sleeping
• Morning stiffness
• Headaches (including migraine headaches and tension headaches)
• Painful menstrual periods
• Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
• Problems with thinking and memory (sometimes called "fibro fog")
• Depression
• Anxiety.

Is Fibromyalgia a Type of Arthritis?
Although fibromyalgia is often considered an arthritis-related condition, it is not truly a form of arthritis (a disease of the joints) because it does not cause inflammation or damage to the joints, muscles, or other tissues. However, like arthritis, fibromyalgia can cause significant pain and fatigue, and it can interfere with a person's ability to carry out daily activities. Also, like arthritis, fibromyalgia is considered a rheumatic condition.

You may wonder what exactly rheumatic means. Even physicians do not always agree on whether a disease is considered rheumatic. If you look up the word in the dictionary, you'll find it comes from the Greek word rheum, which means flux -- not an explanation that gives you a better understanding. In medicine, however, the term rheumatic means a medical condition that impairs the joints and/or soft tissues and causes chronic pain.

Treatment for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia can be hard to treat. It's important to find a healthcare provider who is familiar with the disorder and its treatment. Many family physicians, general internists, or rheumatologists can treat fibromyalgia. Rheumatologists are healthcare providers who specialize in arthritis and other conditions that affect the joints or soft tissues.

Once a patient is diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the healthcare provider may recommend one or several different treatment options. These may include:

• Lifestyle changes
• Medications (see Fibromyalgia Medications)
• Complementary or alternative treatments (see Alternative Treatment for Fibromyalgia).

Remember that fibromyalgia is a real condition, but not everyone responds the same to every treatment. Therefore, changes to the treatment plan may be needed at various times during the course of your fibromyalgia treatment.

Living With Fibromyalgia
There are many things you can do to relieve some of the pain associated with fibromyalgia, including:

• Taking medicines as prescribed
• Getting enough sleep
• Exercising
• Eating well
• Making work changes, if necessary.
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