Fibromyalgia has various symptoms and mimics many illnesses. It is most often compared to an autoimmune disease. People often classify fibro as autoimmune as well. But, is fibro an autoimmune disease?
First, before answering if fibro is an autoimmune disease, let’s take a look at the characteristics and symptoms of an autoimmune disease.
According to Healthline an autoimmune disease
develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy body cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue.
Characteristics of an autoimmune disease
- remission (little/no symptoms)
- flare-ups (worsening symptoms)
- no cures
- treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms
- run in families
- 75 percent of those affected are women (source)
Symptoms of an autoimmune disease
- feeling ill
- affects the joints, muscles, skin, red blood cells, blood vessels, connective tissue, and endocrine glands
Second, let’s look at the definition, characteristics, and symptoms of fibromyalgia.
The Arthritis Foundation defines fibromyalgia as
a condition associated with widespread chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. Fibromyalgia is not a single disease, but a constellation of symptoms that can be managed. It is not life threatening and does not lead to muscle or joint damage.
Characteristics of fibromyalgia
- majority are women
- occurs in more than one member of the same family
- generalized pain
- sleep disturbances
Symptoms of fibromyalgia (not all of them)
- chronic muscle pain
- muscle spasms
- sensory sensitivities
- anxiety or depression
- sleep disturbance
As we can see, an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia have various similarities and differences.
The similarities are:
- no cures
- treatment focuses on symptoms
- majority are women
- runs in family
- affects the muscles and tissue
There are a few, key differences between the two. With an autoimmune disease the immune system attacks the healthy cells in the body. Even though fibromyalgia affects the tissue and muscles, it does not attack any part of the body. Fibromyalgia only affects the entire body in some way.
So, is fibro an autoimmune disease? No. It is not.
After comparing the two diseases, we can see why fibromyalgia can be mistaken for an autoimmune disease. They have many similarities, but fibromyalgia is NOT an autoimmune disease.Why #fibromyalgia is NOT an #autoimmune disease. #spooniebloggers Click To Tweet
Do you have any similarities or differences to add to the lists? Leave them in the comments.
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2 thoughts on “Is Fibro an Autoimmune Disease?”
Thank you for the informative post. However, I just finished a long round of immune system testing. The immunologist found several of my immune responses were well below normal, just above where they would offer me gamma globulin treatment. I also suffer from CFS, so perhaps it is more from that. My mom had lupus, and all my docs agree that eventually there will be a link discovered to all of these conditions. I don’t know myself, but the opinions I’ve had during this testing were that these are all somehow related to each other and either sets up the conditions for fibro, or there is an unknown link. I sure wish the powers that be would explore this.
Yes, I agree. I also found in my research that there may be a link between the two. Maybe if there is a connection, that could help with finding a cure for fibromyalgia. Maybe? Thank you for commenting, Deb!