According to the American College of Rheumatology, fibromyalgia affects three to six million Americans, or about 2 percent of the population.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a syndrome, (now believed to possibly be linked to an auto-immune disease) with a myriad of symptoms of unknown origin. The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is widespread muscle pain and fatigue. The majority of sufferers are women between the ages of 34 and 56. Ten to twenty percent of those with FMS are severely debilitated.
As recently as twenty years ago, fibromyalgia was unrecognized.
Clinical examinations often revealed no concrete findings. X-rays, blood tests, and muscle biopsies appeared normal, and therefore the symptoms seemed unexplained. Currently, a diagnosis is made by first ruling out other conditions that may mimic its symptoms such as hypothyroidism, lupus, Lyme disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. Then the diagnosis is based upon the patient's history and physical findings. A history of generalized muscle pain and malaise coupled with the finding of 11 of 18 specific tender points is suggestive of fibromyalgia.