Having Problems Sleeping? You Are at Greater Risk for Fibromylgia, Study Says
Twenty years ago, the term was rarely identifiable, the disease unknown. Now, references to it are all too common. Fibromyalgia. Alternative medicine's practitioners believe that diet may be related to the syndrome in which an individual has long-term pains over the entire body, including tenderness in the soft tissues (joints, muscles, tendons). Other groups are examining a genetic relationship to auto immune diseases. Doctors find fibromyalgia treatment difficult though there are meds to counteract symptoms.
Now, according to reports about a Norwegian study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, the concept that fibromyalgia is linked to uneven sleep patterns is gaining credibility. It appears that women who experience difficulties sleeping are at three times the elevated risk for developing fibromyalgia, with their risk rising according to the severity of the sleep disturbance.
But research still needs to performed because the direct causal link is not apparent. "Sleep problems are just one factor that may contribute to the development of fibromyalgia," says Paul J. Mork, Ph.D., a study coauthor and a researcher at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, in Trondheim.
Mork and colleague TomI.L. Nilsen, Ph.D. said that compared with women who had no sleep problems, those who reported difficulties frequently or almost every night had an adjusted risk ratio for fibromyalgia of 3.43 (95% CI 2.26 to 5.19), and even those who only occasionally had difficulties sleeping had double the risk (RR 1.98, 95% CI 1.58 to 2.49).
Fibromyalgia is most common among women aged 20 to 50. In addition to the symptoms listed above, these conditions may exacerbate fibromyalgia and mimic its symptoms: chronic neck or back pain, fatigue syndrome, depression, underactive thyroid, Lyme disease, sleep disorders.
However in regard to sleeping problems, the chicken/egg debate follows. Researchers do not know whether the poor sleep leads to fibromyalgia or whether the chronic pain results in disordered sleep.Continued on the next page