The exact cause of fibromyalgia is somewhat of a mystery to medical science. However research has identified several factors that may be involved in causing fibromyalgia. This includes risk factors that may increase a person’s chance of developing the syndrome.
Women are much more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia, widespread pain in muscles and soft tissue that may be accompanied by fatigue, memory loss and sleep problems. Learning to better manage stress, physical therapy and medications all can help relieve symptoms.
For many patients, symptoms begin after emotional or physical trauma or a bout with an infectious disease. These do not likely cause fibromyalgia by themselves, but may trigger the onset in people who are already at risk for it.
Problems with getting enough sleep, or spending enough time in the deepest stages of sleep, are common in this disorder. However, doctors are not sure if this is a symptom or a cause of the disorder. Improper sleep patterns can affect the levels of some of the brain chemicals listed above.
There are several factors that indicate an increased risk of fibromyalgia. However, their presence doesn’t mean one will certainly be diagnosed with the syndrome.
According to the NIAMS, Women are eight to nine times more likely than men to have fibromyalgia. Scientists believe female reproductive hormones may play a role in the pain disorder.
According to the NIAMS, the most common age to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia is early to middle adulthood, between 20 and 50 years old.
If you have a close family member with fibromyalgia, you are more likely to be diagnosed yourself.
It is not known if sleep problems are a symptom or a cause of fibromyalgia. However, people who have disorders affecting sleep such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome are more likely to have the pain disorder.
Other Rheumatic Diseases
Rheumatic diseases affect the joints, muscles, and bones. People who have another rheumatic disease are more likely to have fibromyalgia as well. These diseases include:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- ankylosing spondylitis
Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team and Stephanie Watson
Published on Jun 13, 2017on Jun 13, 2017