World Fibromyalgia Day: a blood test accurately detects it

Until now it was very difficult to diagnose with certainty. Common symptoms include pain throughout the body, fatigue, trouble sleeping, headaches, among others.
Researchers from the Ohio State University in the United States managed to detect, for the first time, the ‘molecular signature’ of fibromyalgia. Thanks to this, they developed a blood test capable of accurately detecting the disease.

The work, which was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, is expected to pave the way for a “simple and quick” diagnosis. In addition to identifying and detecting fibromyalgia, they believe that these “biomarkers” (the distinctive mark or “fingerprint”) would differentiate it from other similar related diseases.

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The discovery could be a turning point in the care of patients with a disease that is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed, “leaving them without adequate care and counseling to control their chronic pain and fatigue,” said the researcher. Principal Kevin Hackshaw.

Until now, to diagnose fibromyalgia, doctors relied on patient-informed information about a multitude of symptoms and a physical assessment of the patient’s pain, focusing on specific tender points. But there is no blood test, there is no clear and easy to use tool to provide a quick response.

 International Day of Fibromyalgia, a disease whose cause is unknown (Photo: Shutterstock)
International Day of Fibromyalgia, a disease whose cause is unknown (Photo: Shutterstock)
Although fibromyalgia is currently incurable and treatment is limited to exercise, education and antidepressants, an accurate diagnosis has many benefits. These include ruling out other diseases, confirming patients that their symptoms are real and not imagined, and guiding doctors towards recognition of the disease and proper treatment.

“Most doctors today do not question whether fibromyalgia is real, but there are still skeptics”
Many undiagnosed patients are prescribed opioids that have not been shown to benefit people with the disease.

In addition to identifying fibromyalgia, the researchers also found evidence that the fingerprint technique has the potential to determine the severity of fibromyalgia in an individual patient. “This could lead to better and more targeted treatment for patients,” Hackshaw concluded.

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Fibromyalgia is one of the most common causes of chronic widespread pain and disproportionately affects women. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They estimate that approximately 2 percent of the population, around 4 million adults, have fibromyalgia. Other organizations estimate even higher numbers. Common symptoms include pain and stiffness throughout the body, fatigue, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, headaches and problems with thinking, memory and concentration.

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