Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. Red blood cells need iron to form normally and carry oxygen around your body. Low ferritin <50 ng/ml caused a 6.5-fold increased risk for fibromyalgia in a study. Iron is essential for a number of enzymes involved in neurotransmitter synthesis. Analysis of cerebrospinal fluid in fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) has shown a reduction in the concentration of biogenic amine metabolites, including dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. The study investigators suggested that iron as a cofactor in serotonin and dopamine production may have a role in the etiology of fibromyalgia. (Eur J Clin Nutr 2010 Mar;64(3):308-12)
Women and men living with fibromyalgia do not have characteristic or consistent abnormalities on laboratory testing. However, routine laboratory and imaging studies are important to help rule out diseases with similar manifestations and to assist in diagnosis of certain inflammatory diseases that frequently coexist with fibromyalgia. These are the lab tests commonly checked by physicians treating fibromyalgia patients: CMP, CBC, Urinalysis, TSH, Vitamin D & B-12, Iron/TIBC, Magnesium in RBC, ESR, CPK and Ferritin.
The term fibromyalgia came from the Latin word “fibro” (fibrosis tissue), and the Greek terms for “myo” (muscle) and “algia” (pain).
Fibromyalgia is a relatively common health problem that affects around 3-4% of people worldwide. It consists of consistent pain across the entire body and it's a disease that directly affects the nervous system.
Although the pain symptoms are obvious, it can be really difficult to diagnose this condition. That's because many other illnesses cause pain in various parts of the body. With that being said, a lot of progress has been made when it comes to diagnosing fibromyalgia.
Keep reading to learn more about this health issue, how to test for it, and what are your treatment options.
What Is Fibromyalgia and What Are Its Symptoms?
As mentioned earlier, fibromyalgia creates consistent muscular and joint pain. This type of pain is disturbing, but bearable according to most patients. The muscles of a person with fibromyalgia are sensitive to the touch. This can drastically reduce the quality and enjoyment of life in patients diagnosed with this condition.
Some of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia include:
- Tenderness and pain on joints, skin, and muscles
- Confusion and lack of concentration
- Sleeping difficulties
- Having troubles remembering things
Most of these secondary symptoms are directly caused by the constant, silent pain that fibromyalgia patients feel every day. It can be really difficult to think, focus, and sleep when your body is aching all the time for no obvious reasons.
It's important to stress out that fibromyalgia causes pain across the entire body. This includes your shoulders, neck, jaw, upper back, lower back, abdomen, chest, legs, and even the fingers of your limbs. The entire nervous system is affected and this is felt in the hundreds of muscles that make up the human body.
How Is Fibromyalgia Diagnosed?
Body pain is usually associated with a host of other health problems, so diagnosing fibromyalgia is not a walk in the park. Doctors usually run a battery of blood tests to rule out other conditions. Here are a few tests used to diagnose fibromyalgia.
Complete Blood Count
This test group looks at specific variables in your blood such as red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and more. This helps discover anemia or any infections that might cause you constant, whole-body pain.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
TSH is a hormone produced by your pituitary. It tells your thyroid gland what hormones to secrete and in what quantity. Your thyroid gland is responsible for numerous metabolic processes. Damages to your thyroid can cause symptoms similar to fibromyalgia such as frequent pain throughout your entire body, fatigue, and so on.
Complete Metabolic Panel
The CMP checks the function of your liver, kidneys, and several other organs. It can detect any electrolyte imbalance, diabetes, and other types of health problems that might cause you symptoms similar to fibromyalgia.
Iron Blood Test
Iron is one of the most important minerals in your body. Too little iron can cause anemia which is characterized by fatigue, lack of sleep, and minor muscle aches. At the same time, too much iron is also a bad thing, so this test will give you an accurate result when it comes to blood iron levels in your body.
The vitamin B complex is essential for a healthy nervous system, particularly vitamin B12. Low levels of this vitamin are commonly associated with fatigue, diffuse pain, and lethargy. Vitamin B12 depletion can be caused by various things including consuming too much alcohol and not eating a balanced diet.
At the same time, too little vitamin D can also cause problems in your body including tiredness, mild pain, and a general state of confusion. Vitamin D is metabolized from the sun, but most people don't get enough sun exposure to get enough vitamin D in their system.
This test will reveal how much vitamin D is in your bloodstream. If you're deficient in this vital nutrient, you might be able to easily correct this problem with regular vitamin D supplementation.
Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK Test)
CPK is an enzyme found in most muscles in your body. When the muscles are injured, CPK is released into the bloodstream. This test can detect excess CPK in your system and it will help doctors detect infections and diseases quickly.
CPK is also split into 3 categories and each corresponds to certain muscle groups and organs. Measuring your levels of CPK can indicate recent muscle damage, heart attacks, brain problems, and more.
Low levels can lead to muscle spasms, which are common in fibromyalgia patients; magnesium supplementation can also improve symptoms in some fibromyalgia patients; recommended magnesium levels in fibromyalgia patients are at least 2 mEq/L.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR Test)
ESR is often recommended as a routine laboratory test in fibromyalgia patients to rule out the presence of inflammatory disorders that may mimic symptoms. The upper limit of normal for the ESR in women is half their age (eg, a level of 40 in an 80-year-old women is normal), and in men is half their age minus 10.
How Is Fibromyalgia Treated?
Once a fibromyalgia diagnosis is confirmed, your doctor will help you fight this disease in a number of ways. Usually, a combination of medications and therapies is used, depending on the severity of your pain and how much disturbance it causes in your life.
Some of the drugs used to treat fibromyalgia include pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and others. These will help you cope with the constant pain easier. Other drugs used are anti-depressants such as Duloxetine.
These drugs might help fight the pain and lethargy commonly associated with fibromyalgia. Finally, anti-seizure drugs might be useful in extreme cases.
On top of that, counseling is highly recommended to find ways to cope with the constant pain and alleviate it slightly. Physical therapy is also very useful in improving the flexibility and stamina of people who struggle with fibromyalgia.
Other types of self-care strategies include practicing yoga, meditating, taking long, hot baths, or engaging in vigorous cardio exercise. These activities release natural endorphins that help numb the pain of people with fibromyalgia.
Order Your Fibromyalgia Panel Today!
As you can see, the only reliable way to test for fibromyalgia is by ordering a comprehensive panel of blood tests. This will help doctors rule out other conditions and accurately formulate treatment options for your specific case.
Order your fibromyalgia panel from Discountedlabs.com today and take advantage of quick delivery of results as well as one of the lowest prices for blood tests in the US!
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