Conditions to be excluded before diagnosis

Conditions to be excluded before diagnosis

There are many conditions which have similar symptoms  to FMS. I have listed the conditions  below. Your GP should  exclude these conditions  before making  a  diagnosis.  He/she will be able to do this using a variety  of  methods.

Initially your GP will ask you a series of questions known as \'taking your history\'.  He/She will want to know about your symptoms. how they affect you, when they started etc. It is worth taking a list with you, so that you don\'t forget anything. The more information they have, the easier it is to decide which tests you need.

You will probably be examined, I would suggest wearing loose clothing as this may reduce the need to undress and saves time.

Blood tests are useful and will  be requested in most cases. Speak to your GP about any concerns you have such as needle phobia and ask him/her what tests they are requesting. Discuss the list below to ensure they have included everything..

You may be asked to have a scan or an Xray. Again ask your GP what they are looking for and what the test involves.

In some cases, it may  be necessary to be referred to a neurologist a rheumatologist or pain specialist. In most cases you can choose who you see, so if you or a friend have seen someone you like before, ask to see them again.

Don\'t be afraid of asking questions, your GP is a normal person, they aren\'t specialists so they may never or very rarely come across anyone with your symptoms before. You may be lucky enough to have a GP who has a special interest in certain conditions so ask the receptionist if this is the case.  Make it your responsibility to see the right GP/specialist and get the correct diagnosis.

Osteoarthritis
A condition  of the joints caused by wear and tear commonly in the elderly. It normally starts in  one joint but will often affect several.

Rheumatoid arthritis
An autoimmune condition whereby the immune system attacks healthy cells in the joints causing swelling. redness, pain stiffness and loss of joint range and motion as well as fatigue.

Ankylosing spondylitis
Caused by damage to the spine resulting in pain and inflammation of the vertebrae. It is a form of arthritis which tends to affect young men.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Also known  as lupus, is an autoimmune disease . The body\'s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in many parts of the body. Symptoms vary between people, they may be mild, moderate or severe.

Multiple sclerosis (MS)
An autoimmune condition whereby the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulating parts (myelin) of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This is referred to as demyelination.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
persistent fatigue that affects many systems in the body (systemic). It affects everyday life and does not improve with rest. Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) is a new term suggested in a 2015 report by the US Institute of Medicine as a move to highlight the serious nature of this condition.

Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid)
Can cause problems similar to fibromyalgia such as fatigue, muscle aches, weakness and depression.

Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis,
A bacterial infection spread to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick. The first sign is usually a large red circular rash around the bite which commonly looks like a bulls eye on a darts board. This normally appears 3-30 days after the initial bite. It can be treated with antibiotics if detected early enough. However, serious symptoms may develop several weeks, months or even years later if left untreated.

Vitamin B12 deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency
Also important as these conditions may cause aches pains and fatigue.  If left untreated can cause severe medical problems but if detected, can be easily treated.

Hypermobility syndrome

 a condition whereby joints easily move beyond the normal range expected Symptoms include pain in the knees, fingers, hips, and elbows. Often jointhypermobility causes no symptoms and requires no treatment

Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR)

A condition that causes pain, stiffness and inflammation in the muscles around the shoulders, neck and hips. 

 

If you are found to have any of these conditions, you will be at an increased risk of developing  fibromyalgia. So it is important  that FMS is not completely excluded if another  diagnosis  is  made.