Is fibromyalgia an autoimmune disease?

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In an autoimmune disease, your immune system begins attacking your body’s own healthy cells. Bacteria or virus triggers an immune response in some cases, and the antibodies or T-cells attack normal cells. They are thought to attack because some part of their cell structure resembles part of the structure of the infecting microorganism.

Officially, fibromyalgia is not an immune disease, at least according to the National Institutes of Health. Instead, it is considered a disease of the central nervous system. However, fibromyalgia and chronic pain syndrome complex both share a number of similarities with autoimmune diseases. In fact, fibromyalgia sufferers are often incorrectly diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder like lupus.

There are two primary characteristics of autoimmune diseases that exclude fibromyalgia. First autoimmune disorders are marked by inflammation, while fibromyalgia does not have such characteristic inflammation. Also, in autoimmune disorders, antibodies assault certain tissues, but fibromyalgia does not carry those degenerative links.

However, there are medical professionals like Dr. Robert Lahita, the author of “Women and AutoImmune Disease,” believes that fibromyalgia belongs in the autoimmune arena and will, at some point, be placed in that category.

Because fibromyalgia is a fairly recently “discovered” syndrome, there is a significant amount of research to be done before scientists can more fully understand the scope of the disorder.

For more information, contact one of these organizations:
www.fmaware.org -- National Fibromyalgia Foundation
www.fmpartnership.org -- National Fibromyalgia Partnership
www.fmnetnews.com -- Fibromyalgia Network


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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