Fibromyalgia cases increase in general population
It is estimated that 6 million people in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia, and it is believed that the condition may affect one in 50 Americans. A new study has examined the prevalence of the disorder in the general population by comparing criteria from several years. The researchers have found that changes to the American College of Rheumatology criteria have led to a rise in the prevalence of fibromyalgia, and the number of men being diagnosed with the condition is rising.
Fibromyalgia affects more women than men with an estimated ratio of 7 to 1, but new research reveals that the numbers are slowly changing. Researchers from the U.K. found that more men are being diagnosed after comparing criteria changes. They looked at the American College of Rheumatology fibromyalgia classification criteria from 1990 and 2010. The main difference between the two sets of guidelines was that the 2010 version included more symptoms of the disorder instead of just pain. In general, they found that more people met the 2010 fibromyalgia criteria.
Previous studies have found that fibromyalgia does not go away with time, and symptoms can worsen in some cases. Researchers from the U.S.A. followed fibromyalgia patients for seven years and discovered that the disease did not diminish. The patients continued to report pain, fatigue, anxiety, sleep problems and other issues over the course of the entire study.
The rise in the number of fibromyalgia cases may depend on several factors including improved diagnostic criteria, greater knowledge about the condition and more education about the disease in the general population. Although it is easy to be disheartened by some of the studies, it is important to remember that each research project increases the medical community’s understanding about the disease. Fibromyalgia does not have a cure, and some of the treatment options do not work for everyone, but there is hope this will change in the future.
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