Stories on Curt's Human Disease Website
Name of the Disease: Fibromyalgia

Author: Kathy Nieto

Story Submitted September, 2000:

City = Sunnyvale, California

Hi Curtis (and Lisa)
Mike sent me your email address and thought I might be able to add some info to your human disease page. I have just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia (also called fibrocitis). It is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, multiplle tender points, and fatigue. Tender points refers to tenderness that occurs in specific areas, particularly in the neck, spine, shoulders, hips, back.

The cause of this disease is unknown, researchers have some theories about what my trigger the disease - injury or trauma. The injury could affect the central nervous system. Fibromyalgia may be associated with changes in muscle metabolism, such as decreased blood fow, causing fatigue and decreased strength. Others believe it may be triggered by an infectious agent such as a virus in susceptible people, but no such agent has been identified. It affects 3 - 6 million people, primarily occurs in women, but children, men and the elderly can also be affected. Although it is chronic, it is not fatal, and remission can occur in some patients after 15 years. It can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are similar to those of other diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, and advanced arthritis. According to experts fibromyalgia can be diagnosed if the patient has widespread pain in combination with tenderness in at least 11 0f 18 specific tender point sites. Blood tests can help with the diagnosis. I had an elevated sed rate (normal range is 0 - 20, mine was 48) and very high WBC.

Treatment is physical therapy, aerobic exercise, walking, water aerobics, heat and massage. Antidepressants may help elevate mood and improve sleep thus relaxing the muscles.

Curtis, I have probably had it for about 5 years (undiagnosed), and now that I am aware of the problem I have tried all the above treatments, except the antidepressants because I could not tolerate them. The walking and aerobics seems to be alleviating some of the major aches, the difficulty is sleeping and staying comfortable because most of my problems is my hips and back. There are two rheumatologist in this area (Lower San Francisco Bay Area) who specialize in fibromyalgia:
Dr. Rapaport at SV Medical Clinic, and Dr. Multz in San Jose near O'Connor Hospital. I am going to the later because he was very highly recommended. If you have any more questions for this disease I waould be happy to help you get more info.
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