Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease?
There is some conflicting information about fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. According to some people, it is an autoimmune disease, but for some people, it may not. However, the main thing you need to know is that physicians do not consider fibromyalgia as an autoimmune disease. It is not known that what causes this unbearable pain. Individuals who are suffering from other diseases usually have the worse effect of this disease. Ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis are some diseases that make an individual more inclined to fibromyalgia. Usually, there are such symptoms of fibromyalgia that are same as some these autoimmune diseases due to which the diagnosis of it gets difficult.
Why is fibromyalgia not an autoimmune disease?
Fibromyalgia is not considered to be an autoimmune disease now. Maybe further research proves something else but right now this it seems like this. There is an involvement of the deregulation of the immune system itself in some cases of fibromyalgia and this is a lot more different than the deregulation caused by autoimmune disease. Researchers are trying to find out the nature of deregulation due to fibromyalgia.
As we have discussed some autoimmune diseases earlier and that includes ankylosing spondylitis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and others. Fibromyalgia is nowhere in the autoimmune disease. There are some symptoms that are same as some autoimmune disease’s symptoms, but it is not considered to be an autoimmune disease.
Symptoms of autoimmune disease:
There are a lot of symptoms of the autoimmune disease and some of these symptoms are the same as the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Here is the list of some symptoms of the autoimmune disease and that could also point to fibromyalgia:
Joint muscle and pain- this pain can range from general to burning, aching, and soreness in the muscles and pain in joints.
Extreme fatigue- this fatigue cannot get better by taking some rest.
Swollen glands- some glands especially in the throat, under the arms and the top of legs around the groin are swollen.
Muscle weakness- the feeling of weakness in muscles and loss of strength in arms and legs.
Prone towards infections- colds, yeast infection, sore throat, frequent bladder infections, ear infections and sinus problems are common in FMS sufferers as well as in autoimmune disorders. A lot of time is taken for recovery if you have an autoimmune disease.
Low blood sugar- adrenal fatigue occurs
Sleep disturbances- this causes problems in going to sleep or staying asleep.
Weight gain/loss- weight changes in the range of 10 to 15 pounds usually.
Candida yeast infections- sinus infections, thrush, digestive issue or vaginal yeast infections occur.
Digestive issues- constipation, bloating, cramping, heartburn, abdomen pain, excessive gas, and diarrhea can occur.
Changes in BP- you might suffer from a very low or high blood pressure and you might have feeling s of dizziness, heart rate fluctuations or fainting.
Allergies- you might have some allergies to certain foods, things in the environment or even chemicals.
PMS- you might have extreme cramps, irregular cycle, heavy bleeding and bloating in case of fibromyalgia as well as autoimmune disease.
A consistent headache- this can lead to migraines.
Depression/anxiety- you might have changes in mood and emotions or you can feel irritated and you can have panic attacks.
Memory issues- this is usually called as “brain fog” where things are really unclear to you.
Low-grade fever- this can happen every single day.
Thyroid issues- this problem is hypothyroidism. Usually, this is not shown on thyroid test. Excessive hair loss and lowering of body temperature can occur.
Symptoms of fibromyalgia:
Widespread pain- this can result in aching, throbbing, burning pain that goes deep within the muscles and stabbing.
Sleep issues- you might have issues with falling and staying asleep. Sometime you may have restless sleep.
Cramps, knotting and muscle weakness- your muscles feel very weaken, no matter how much you try to relax them. Pain due to fibromyalgia can be the reason of this muscle weakness.
Brain fog- you might have issues with remembering things, focusing and using right words etc.
Fatigue- this can be unbearable of all. You can feel fully drained of energy.
Morning with stiffness- in early mornings, your muscles feel sore and you might feel more stiff than usual.
Migraines/headaches- you feel severe pain and even migraines at least twice a week. This can be due to trigger points located in neck, head, and shoulders.
Skin burn/itch- you might have itchy red bumps on your skin or maybe it feels like you are having a sunburn.
Balancing issue- people suffering from fibromyalgia can have problems while walking, they can even fall down.
Digestive issues- constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, IBA, abdominal pain, slow digestion and acid reflux issues are common in FMS sufferers.
Fibromyalgia and autoimmunity comparison
There are some symptoms that are quite common and even same in some cases. Researchers haven’t found any connection between these two. No inflammatory markers have been discovered. No antibodies are even discovered. There hasn’t seen any damage that is typical of autoimmune activity within the body.
However, a significant overlap has been observed between these two and that has been explained earlier which shows that there is a possibility to develop fibromyalgia if the patient has autoimmunity. These include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis and Lupus.
Why is there still confusion?
This is the fact that people get confused over the meaning of “autoimmunity” that leads to misunderstanding between the two.
For instance, both of these diseases have pain, fatigue and many other symptoms in common. Both are difficult to diagnose and a lot of time can be taken to sort them out. This common poor understanding leads people and even medical community in confusion. They mix up together because they seem to be same.
You should understand that there is some difference between fibromyalgia and autoimmune disease. They seem to be same but they are not.