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All About FibromyalgiaA Guide for Patients and their Families$
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Daniel J. Wallace and Janice Brock Wallace

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147537

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195147537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 13 June 2021

Who Gets Fibromyalgia and Why?

Who Gets Fibromyalgia and Why?

3 Who Gets Fibromyalgia and Why?
All About Fibromyalgia

Daniel J. Wallace

Janice Brock Wallace

Oxford University Press

When fibromyalgia is first diagnosed, patients often have two reactions. The first reaction is relief. They have a legitimate diagnosis and are not crazy. Then a feeling of loneliness and a hint of fear can be detected, since many patients have never heard of the fibromyalgia syndrome and do not know what to do. It is worth repeating that the intent of this book is to promote a better understanding of fibromyalgia, as well as to provide patients, allied health professionals, and physicians with ways to work together. But first, this chapter will discuss how many people have fibromyalgia and how it might have been acquired. Until recently, nobody knew how many people had fibromyalgia. Dr. Frederick Wolfe, the same physician who chaired the ACR Criteria Committee, received funding to undertake an epidemiologic survey of the syndrome. Using computerized applications of field methodologies to estimate the prevalence of fibromyalgia (the number of cases per 100,000 individuals), his team estimated that 6 million people in the United States fulfill the ACR criteria for fibromyalgia. This and other surveys suggest that while 2 percent of the adult U.S. population have full-blown fibromyalgia (3.5 percent of adult women and 0.5 percent of adult men), 11 percent have chronic widespread pain and 20 percent have chronic regional pain. Recently, Dr. Larry Bradley at the University of Alabama has found that for every diagnosed fibromyalgia patient in the United States, there is an undiagnosed individual who has the requisite tender points, but never seeks medical attention for this. This has been termed community fibromyalgia. A survey in Great Britain found that 13 percent of the population had chronic widespread pain, 72 percent of whom sought medical attention for it. Of those, 21 percent fulfilled the ACR criteria for fibromyalgia. In other words, of individuals with chronic neuromuscular pain, less than half have diagnosed fibromyalgia or community fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is the third or fourth most common reason for consulting a rheumatologist. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of all patients seeking rheumatology referrals have fibromyalgia.

Keywords:   autoimmune diseases, community fibromyalgia, drug withdrawal, emotional stress, genetic markers, herpes virus, infections, menopause, neck injuries, polio virus

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