Fibromyalgia is a painful disorder, and many times, it gets mistaken for other disorders. This is because a lot of the symptoms that help to diagnose fibromyalgia are also used to help diagnose other disorders.
Multiple sclerosis is one of the many diseases that get mistaken for fibromyalgia, and vice versa. That being said, how do we know the difference between the two? How do doctors diagnose the different diseases properly? Let’s take a closer look here in this article.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Many of us have heard of Multiple Sclerosis (sometimes referred to as MS), but very few of us know what it actually is. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that focuses on basically destroying your central nervous system.
What it does, in short, is destroys all of the tissues that protect your nervous system and that make them work. The immune system goes crazy and starts to attack these particular tissues, making them function poorly or, in the worst cases, destroying them completely.
The nervous system carries out a variety of different types of processes, including breathing, using the bathroom, walking, and a variety of other essential things. When the tissues are damaged or destroyed, it becomes more difficult for you to do those sorts of things, thus causing you to become debilitated.
Sadly, Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that gets worse over time, and as it progresses, the person that suffers from it has a more difficult time doing their daily activities of living.
The only way for you to determine whether or not you have Multiple Sclerosis is by your doctor performing a variety of different tests on your nervous system. These tests show if there is damage and/or if the nervous system seems to be misfiring in any way.
At the time of this article’s writing, there is absolutely no known cause for Multiple Sclerosis. That being said, some researchers have determined that there is likely an environmental and/or genetic link to Multiple Sclerosis, thus making it something that may be difficult to prevent.
That being said, we may eventually be able to predict whether or not someone is going to end up having Multiple Sclerosis. There are some risk factors as well; women are more likely to get the disease than men are.
Those who are considered to be “younger adults” (that is, between the ages of 21 and 41) are the ones who are most likely to have a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.
Also, it is more common in those people who have a heritage that is from Northern Europe (thus making it more common in Caucasian persons than in minorities).
Obviously, these risk factors will not make it so you definitely have the disease, they just make your chances that much greater to do so.
How are Multiple Sclerosis and Fibromyalgia Related?
One big way that Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia are related is because it is very common for those who have Multiple Sclerosis to have a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia first. Why is this the case?
Multiple Sclerosis is a lot slower than fibromyalgia, which means that the early symptoms look pretty much the same.
Those with Multiple Sclerosis are going to be fatigued a lot, they’re going to feel a lot of pain, and they are going to start dealing with muscle issues like the ones that people with fibromyalgia deal with.
It takes tests and time in order for doctors to see that it is, in fact, Multiple Sclerosis. There are so many similarities between the two diseases that it’s hard to see a huge difference between both of them.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you may notice that there are a lot of mental health issues that are associated with both Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia.
Depression and anxiety are common, because the pain and the stress that you are dealing with as a result of the diseases gets so out of control so quickly.
It can be discouraging, and it can also make you feel nervous about what’s going to happen in the future, especially with how debilitating that both of them can end up being. Without appropriate treatment, both disorders can end up making the person disabled in some way.
That being said, you will also notice that doctors end up treating them the same way. They will take care of treatment plans that focus on helping the person to continue to stay mobile.
But, in Multiple Sclerosis, they will also do scans and they will notice that there are areas of lesions located on the brain of the person (you don’t see that at all in fibromyalgia).
The pain that you feel in both is pretty much the same. Sometimes you have flare-ups, sometimes you don’t have any signs of the disorder. So a combination of medication, physical therapy, exercise, diet, and proper sleeping patterns are used in order to help the patients deal with them.
Obviously, you are going to have to deal with the different symptoms differently, but in general, much of the treatment plans for Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia end up being shockingly similar.
Multiple sclerosis can be a really frustrating diagnosis to deal with, as can fibromyalgia. Both of them still have a lot of mysteries behind them, which can make them seem quite scary. But that doesn’t mean that you are stuck with whatever ends up happening to you.
There are lots of different ways for you to be able to cope with the symptoms and the issues that are related to both of these diseases. By taking care of your body and eating a healthy diet, you will be able to fend off the symptoms of each disorder.
Exercise and getting involved in the world around you can also help with your symptoms. Always consult a professional before changing your diet and/or exercise plan; they can give you advice and keep track of you as things change with your body.