More than half of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia may also have chronic fatigue syndrome. Because of that many people wonder whether both of them are actually the same disease or not?
Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are characterised by extreme amount of fatigue. Many medical communities often debate whether fatigue caused by fibromyalgia is simply a different expression of the same disorder that causes chronic fatigue syndrome. If you take a look at the statistics, more people may suffer from fibromyalgia. The line between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia fatigue is a very clean one and so sometimes it may become very difficult for people to understand what they are suffering from. Sometimes patients even wonder whether they are suffering from both conditions. That may be possible in some cases. There are important differences between fibromyalgia fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Another commonality seen in both the problems is that both generally occur in middle aged people. Both the disorders are more common in women than men. It is seen that about 80 to 90% of the patients with fibromyalgia fatigue are female. The risk of CFS is four times more in women than in men.
Links between the two problems
Fibromyalgia research is generally done by rheumatologist and arthritis experts. On the other hand, chronic fatigue syndrome is the research by immunologists and virus experts. Fibromyalgia is often considered as a muscle disorder but on the other hand chronic fatigue syndrome is considered as a viral infection. Even though they look very similar to each other but there basic categories are totally different.
Differences of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
There are some differences which completely differentiate between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. The common symptoms in both cases include chronic pain and fatigue. But in fibromyalgia fatigue is not the primary problem rather debilitating muscle pain is. On the other hand, in chronic fatigue syndrome, people seem to have an overwhelming lack of energy and they may experience some pain.
There are many differences between these two problems.
People who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia fatigue often report that the symptoms followed some sort of trauma. Such a trauma can be a physical injury or an emotional shock. In case of chronic fatigue syndrome, the problem may happen after a viral infection like mononucleosis or influenza.
Both the problems have distinct pain sites. Fibromyalgia patients feel tenderness or a pain in 11 of 18 distinct locations on the body. On the other hand people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome do not have these pain sites.
In both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome the patients may suffer from disrupted REM sleep. A recent study done in Japan found some key differences in sleep disturbances in case of patients suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome alone and those suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Chronic fatigue syndrome patients often complain of fever, swollen glands and other types of inflammation. On the other hand, fibromyalgia fatigue patients generally do not have any such inflammatory response.
Since both the problems are so common and have common symptoms, diagnosis becomes more important for better treatment. You need to find an experienced and expert doctor who understands the differences and similarities in case of these two problems so that you get the best possible treatment.