Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder that can be not only debilitating, but also difficult to diagnose accurately. Simply getting a diagnosis can take up to five years in some cases. Fortunately, researchers at Ohio State University have developed a test they believe could make diagnosing fibromyalgia as simple as taking a small blood sample.
Researchers began their study by examining blood samples from patients who are known to have fibromyalgia. Using a special high powered microscope, they searched for molecules having a very particular pattern in the blood samples. They discovered that they were able to calibrate their equipment such that it was able to tell the difference between fibromyalgia and two particular types of arthritis that exhibit some similar symptoms.
More research is needed, of course, to learn more about which molecules are related to the development of fibromyalgia, but scientists are optimistic that their technique could help doctors diagnose the disorder more quickly.
Unfortunately, fibromyalgia patients face a long, difficult road to diagnosis using current techniques. Because the disorder has similar symptoms to several other conditions, doctors usually attempt to try a wide range of treatments before diagnosing someone with fibromyalgia. Among other symptoms, those with fibromyalgia generally suffer from fatigue, persistent pain and even problems with memory and thought. According to estimates by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, roughly five million people in the U.S. currently suffer from fibromyalgia.
Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits are available to those with fibromyalgia. To learn more, speak to a Social Security Disability attorney.
Source: Medical Xpress, “Faster, simpler diagnosis for fibromyalgia may be on the horizon,” Emily Caldwell, July 23, 2013