Millions of people in the USA are suffering from Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that causes extreme pain in the body by increasing the patient’s sensitivity to painful stimuli. It often brings stress and depression as secondary effects, which make the life of fibromyalgia patient even worse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of USA estimates the number of people affected from fibromyalgia to be approximately 4 million adults which make 2% of the adult US population.
The diagnosis of this doctor requires a complete analysis of the person’s medical records. It further needs a physical exam and may require X-rays and relevant blood tests, if necessary.
The widespread prevalence of fibromyalgia has led to this new research. It says that doctors often misdiagnose many people as they are having fibromyalgia.
This research study was published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research and is available online to view.
The study says that diagnosing a person while using the textbook criteria alone is difficult. If may often lead to a different prognosis that is unreal.
What leads to a misdiagnosis?
For this research, the team of researchers used information from 497 people who were attending a rheumatology treatment clinic. The research team designed a questionnaire with specific questions and circulated these into the samples. Each of the individuals completed a health assessment questionnaire as well as consent on American College of Rheumatology’s assessment for fibromyalgia.
All of the participants were receiving consultations and diagnoses from the rheumatology clinicians. These same evaluations were re-checked and the researchers found that only 121 (24.3%) of the total 497 samples (participants) were diagnosed with fibromyalgia from a clinician.
However, the comparison of the clinicians furthers told that they coincided in 79.2% of cases. Note that they also concluded that doctors missed 49.6% of the fibromyalgia cases as per criteria and misdiagnosed 11.4% of the individuals, as per criteria. Then, they repeated this same study in 3,000 primary care patients the results were similar.
Published criteria make a better diagnosis
The editorial featured alongside the study paper says that textbook criteria for the disease are more accurate to diagnose fibromyalgia. But this published criteria cannot take place of the physician’s opinion for evaluating a person.
When he is analyzing a person, he is assessing numerous health variables at a time and hence his opinion cannot be entirely false. Therefore the researchers believe that the best way to correctly diagnose fibromyalgia along with variability and interrelated symptoms is to correlate the textbook criteria and the physician’s opinion.