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What Is The Difference between Fibromyalgia and Neuropathy.

By: Eva Smith
Fibromyalgia and neuropathy are two different entities. But in the medical field treatment for these two problems overlap each other, most of the time. Even the symptoms in both these conditions appear same. An experienced doctor can only differentiate these two conditions properly.
Neuropathy or better known as Peripheral Neuropathy is a pathological condition pertaining to the peripheral nerves system.
This disease or condition affects the nerves which causes problems related to sensation, movement, gland or organ function, or other aspects of health.
Simply speaking this disease occurs due to nerve damage (dysfunction of single or group of peripheral nerves) which often causes weakness, numbness and various bodily pain (usually in hands and feet).
For easy understanding the neuropathy is termed as the pain arising because of damage to the nerves or due to functional loss of the nerves. It is sometimes followed with certain deadly diseases like AIDS, Cancer, etc., (including certain non-communicable diseases like diabetes).
Neuropathy can be classified into different types. The first being Mononeuropathy where a single nerve is affected. And the second type being Polyneuropathy where several nerves are affected.
There can be multiple causes for the occurrence of peripheral neuropathy. Diabetes, cancer, excess alcohol in the body, chronic liver disease, infection or injuries, hereditary diseases, etc. are few of the conditions which can cause this break down.
The very common symptoms seen in most of the neuropathy cases are pain, tingling sensation and numbness in the extremities.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a pathological condition affecting the central nervous system but the features in fibromyalgia differs slightly with neuropathy. The common clinical features observed in case of fibromyalgia are chronic intolerable pain all over the body, pain in the nerves, tingling sensation in the joints and muscle origins, tremors sometimes, headache, nausea, dizziness, etc.
The most common indications of the symptoms in the people who suffer from fibromyalgia chronic fatigue syndrome are joint and muscular pain, memory lapses, insomnia or lack of sleep, lowering of serotin levels or also known as lowering of growth hormones, severe fatigue, mental depression and restricted blood flow in various parts of the body.
Can Fibromyalgia Cause Peripheral Neuropathy?
Recent studies showed that that many patients who suffer from fibromyalgia may already have peripheral neuropathy. As neuropathy is considered as potentially treatable condition, people who are claimed to have fibromyalgia should first be diagnosed for neuropathy.
Based on this it can be said that fibromyalgia does not actually cause neuropathy. But if the patient with peripheral neuropathy is diagnosed correctly at an initial stage can avoid further complications such as fibro disorders (which are often hard to treat).
Fibromyalgia & Neuropathy: Interconnection
Both fibromyalgia and neuropathy are chronic conditions where pain is the principle symptom. Fibromyalgia and neuropathy mostly share same treatment options and in most of the cases, health care professionals prescribe the same type of medicine for both conditions.
These medications for fibromyalgia and neuropathy acts on the central nervous system to decrease the pain intensity which occurs in fibromyalgia as well as neuropathy. Even certain health experts prescribe low impact exercise regimen which will be similar for both fibromyalgia and small fiber neuropathy conditions.
Even though these treatment regimens are provided to cure or manage fibromyalgia and neuropathy, none of them act effectively to cure both the conditions at the same time. Both these conditions can be managed but may consume much time. For this reason patients with fibromyalgia and neuropathy started tolerating the pain and live their life as such.
The primary difference you can see between fibromyalgia and neuropathy is that neuropathy is well identifiable and easily diagnosed by undergoing certain major laboratory tests. Whereas fibromyalgia is bit difficult in identifying and can be diagnosed only by analyzing its symptoms and signs in detail.
Sometimes fibromyalgia cannot be differentiated at all as it accompanies with most common diseases like diabetes, hypertension, etc.
As fibromyalgia and neuropathy seems to be similar, these should be diagnosed properly to avail the best treatment. The treatments may be same but the diagnosis will be different and the causes as well as complication of each disease are also different.
Hence try to do all types of clinical tests, diagnose properly and then admit the patient for appropriate treatment.
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