The condition is extremely painful (Picture: Getty)This week, news broke that a diabetes drug called Metformin was found in tests to have alleviated pain in people who fibromyalgia.
The study – by researchers from University of Texas – saw that the pain relief caused by the drug, which is normally prescribed to normalise blood sugar levels, could mean that there’s a link between blood sugar and the condition.
Fibromyalgia is something that affects as many as 1 in 20 people to some degree, and celebrities like Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham who have it have raised awareness in recent years.
Here’s everything you need to know about the syndrome.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a long-term condition that can cause pain all over the body.
As well as chronic pain, those with it might also experience fatigue and muscle tenderness.
Other symptoms include problems with memory, concentration, and brain function, irritable bowel syndrome, and sleep problems.
Lady Gaga is one of the well-known celebrities with fibromyalgia (Picture: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)What causes fibromyalgia
At present, there is no one cause that has been identified to suggest why and how people get fibromyalgia.
It’s thought that there may be something to do with chemical imbalances in the brain and problems with the way the nervous system processes pain messages.
Others have also asserted that it may be inherited, or that it can be triggered by traumatic events.
Because fibromyalgia affects people so uniquely, it can be a hard problem to diagnose.
Your doctor will likely give you a physical exam, as well as asking you questions about your symptoms, with the aim of ruling out other chronic conditions such as ME, MS, or rheumatoid arthiritis.
Normally, to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you will need to have severe pain in at least three different areas of your body, or mild pain in at least seven. This must have lasted for at least three months, and not be able to be ruled out by another condition.
Is fibromyalgia curable?
At present, no. Treatment will be tailored to you to lessen your symptoms as much as possible and improve your life.
This could mean a combination of medications, therapy, exercise, and monitoring.
What the current development (in regards to both the knowledge of the cause and the treatment) means, though, is that research could hopefully improve things for those with fibromyalgia in the near future.
If you’re worried you’re experiencing similar symptoms, speak to your GP.
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