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Suffering from fibromyalgia means dealing with pain, sleep disturbances, depression, and thinking and memory problems.
Just as hard can be the skepticism from friends, family and the medical community who doubt the validity of the disease itself.
Little-understood and often misdiagnosed, fibromyalgia affects about 2 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That number is contested by others who say it affects more than 10 million Americans, or an estimated 6 percent of the population, said Dr. Bruce Gillis, founder of Epicgenetics, a biomedical company that developed the FM/a blood test that he says has diagnosed fibromyalgia.
What it is?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscle and joint pain and tenderness either bodywide or in localized areas, along with other symptoms including frequent headaches, poor sleep, restless legs or leg cramps, numbness or tingling.
Among sufferers, it affects about 60 percent women and 40 percent men, Gillis said.
For hundreds of years, fibromyalgia has been misunderstood, Gillis said. Sufferers — mostly women — were labeled neurotic. A century ago women could be institutionalized. In the 1970s, doctors widely prescribed Valium to treat it, Gillis said.
It was classified as a syndrome or a set of symptoms rather than a disease, said Gillis, who previously was in private practice treating patients with fibromyalgia.
To test for fibromyalgia many patients spent three to five years visiting doctors for “rule-out tests,” Gillis said. For example, they were tested and ruled out for lupus or misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
With the assistance of major medical universities, including University of California, Los Angeles; University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School, the FM/a test was developed.
Monroe’s Owen Yount singles home the go-ahead run in the fourth inning against Frenchtown at the Monroe County Fair Tournament Sunday.
It diagnoses fibromyalgia by identifying the presence of specific white blood cell abnormalities that have been documented to exist in these patients. The test is FDA-compliant and was introduce