Fibromyalgia: a single disease, but with many symptoms

By Dr. Javier Rivera | Jun. 15, 2018 | Posts in English

It is common for people with fibromyalgia to be diagnosed with several things at the same time. For your information, the number of different diagnoses a person with fibromyalgia has is seven!

The most common are: contractures, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, reflux, bruxism, sicca syndrome, food intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome or recurrent cystitis; and these are just some of the ones that are made.

All diagnoses are made by the specialists to whom the patient has been sent and generally each one is accompanied by the corresponding pharmacological treatment.

What’s going on? Is it that the patient does not have these symptoms? Are you making them up? So if she has them herself, why shouldn’t they be diagnosed and treated, some may wonder.

Indeed, all these symptoms can be experienced by a person with fibromyalgia, because one of the characteristics of this disease is that it presents many symptoms at the same time. In other words, it is a multi-symptomatic disease.

The problem begins when drugs are given to treat each of the symptoms. You have to know that any drug -without exception- besides the positive effect that we try to achieve, there are several negative effects that we call side effects. Well, the more drugs consumed, the greater the chance of side effects that will end up adding to the initial symptoms that the patient already had.

Let’s take an example to understand how this works. Let’s imagine a person with the flu who has a fever, general aches, cough, tiredness, is not breathing well and is so sick that he or she can’t even get out of bed. That is, the symptoms of a flu.

If for each one of them we send this person to a specialist, in the end she could be diagnosed with febrile syndrome, generalized pain, cough syndrome, fatigue syndrome, asthma or constitutional syndrome. If, in addition, we treated each of the symptoms individually, we would begin to give him antipyretics, analgesics, antitussives, nasal sprays, aerosols, energetics, vitamins, anti-inflammatories and antibiotics, just in case. That is, nine drugs!

However, the diagnosis in this patient is clear that it is influenza and all the symptoms belong to the same disease. Therefore, when treating, the main diagnosis should be taken into account and the least number of drugs possible should be given instead of treating the symptoms separately.

Well, we must understand that the same thing happens in fibromyalgia and it is important to establish a single diagnosis instead of the seven that we talked about before. Thus, when treating, the same will be done as with the flu patient and the least possible number of drugs will be given to avoid side effects.

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