Fibromyalgia is a condition that it can easily turn into a chronic or long-term health issue manifested by musculoskeletal pain. The common symptoms of this condition are fatigue, sensitivity to pain, stiff muscles, improper sleeping patterns, irritable bowel syndrome, and cognitive disorders like memory and concentration issues.
This disease is very difficult to detect as it is commonly misplaced with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. Precise diagnosis is of vital importance for the treatment of this disease as due to improper diagnosis patients receive drugs that can only worsen their condition. Fibromyalgia is a complicated disease that can be reoccurring and not fully treated. The usually applied treatment is based on the use of medication, group therapy and lifestyle changes. The treatment cannot completely treat the diseases but it only relieves and manages the symptoms.
Fortunately, there is hope for fibromyalgia patients as researchers at Ohio State University have discovered that blood tests can reliably determine fibromyalgia and thus the affected patient receive its proper treatment.
Their study was released in the Journal of Biological Chemistry where it was shown the success of fibromyalgia biomarker research and the established distinction between the disease and other related conditions. It was pointed out that the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia as “a challenge because of the lack of reliable biomarkers.”
This condition is diagnosed by the reports of numerous symptoms of patients experiencing this discomfort. It also includes a physical assessment of the patient’s pain by applying gentle pressure to 18 specific pain points where the pain is commonly experienced. If the patients feel pain in 11 of these 18 points, then the diagnosis is given, fibromyalgia. Additionally, other diagnostic tools are used to exclude other diseases with symptoms similar to fibromyalgia.
Patients who have fibromyalgia, but still have not received their final diagnosis are often prescribed with strong, addictive opioid analgesics.
Here it is what Kevin Hackshaw, the lead author of the study, says about this treatment: “In chronic pain clinics, about 40% of opioid patients meet the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia. This disease is often worsened with these drugs and the condition of the patients certainly does not improve. “
Quick Diagnosis of Fibromyalgia
The conducted study by the Ohio State University gives us hope for quick detection of this disease. This method is based on biomarkers for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia by using vibrational spectroscopy, which is a chemical analysis of molecular composition. This analysis will confirm whether the patient is dealing with fibromyalgia or with the other similar conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus. This is a valid detection of the disease as the research identified the metabolites (intermediate or metabolic organic compounds) that display the differences in these diseases.
Namely, researchers went further on by revealing clear and reproducible metabolic patterns in the blood of dozens of patients with fibromyalgia. This is of vital importance for the affected patient as it can offer personalized treatment thus providing quick and efficient treatment.
In time researchers could determine the particular protein, acid or combination of molecules that are related to fibromyalgia. Thanks to the discovery of the metabolic fingerprints, the severity of the disease can be easily assessed.
A New Hope for Fibromyalgia Patients
This faster future diagnosis represents a great hope for patients with this disease who had to wait approximately five years for the symptoms to develop and thus have the final diagnosis. This will be of great help for the patients and the doctors as well allowing them quick and appropriate treatment of the disease. The patients will not get any more frustrated whether their symptoms are real and unimaginable, and additionally putting great effort to explain this to their doctors.
According to Luis Rodriguez-Saona, an expert in the test methods used in the study says the following: “These first results are remarkable. If we can help speed up the diagnosis in these patients, their treatment will be better and they will probably have better prospects. There is nothing worse than being in doubt or not knowing what illness you have. “
Kevin Hackshaw, the author of the breakthrough study, sets a goal to conduct larger-scale clinical trials in order to confirm whether the results of this study can be replicated reliably. He believes that that there will be an available test for extended clinical use within five years. This is great news for all fibromyalgia patients and for the ones who suffer from similar symptoms.