At Last, the Fibromyalgia/Autoimmune Confusion is Cleared Up!

A common question regarding fibromyalgia is whether it is an autoimmune disease or not. Many books and websites claim that fibromyalgia is an autoimmune disease, but they are incorrect. Answer:  Fibromyalgia is not currently classified as an autoimmune disease. 

Since fibromyalgia at one point was considered to be an arthritis-related disorder, and arthritis is an autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia was lumped in as an autoimmune disorder. Researchers have not yet established autoimmunity in fibromyalgia.

What are autoimmune disorders?

In an autoimmune disorder, your immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue or structures in your body. The immune system has misidentified healthy parts of the body as an invader.

The immune system then produces highly specialized antibodies that attempt to destroy the offending tissue. The result is inflammation and damage at the particular site of attack.

Why fibromyalgia isn’t an autoimmune disorder (we think)

  • Fibromyalgia patients to not evidence symptoms of that kind.
  • Researchers have not discovered consistently elevated inflammatory markers.
  • No autoantibodies have been found.
  • And as we have already observed the typical damage you would see from autoimmune activity is just not apparent in fibromyalgia patients.

Unfortunately, given the mysterious origins of fibromyalgia, there is a lot of loose speculation concerning its genuine causes.

And it is still too early to rule out any possibilities, including autoimmunity. Medical scientists do suspect that the new system and the fibromyalgia patients is irregular.

Interestingly, there is a profound overlap between certain autoimmune disorders and fibromyalgia that may indicate that autoimmunity is a considerable risk factor for the development of fibromyalgia.

Some of these overlapping conditions are:

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis,
  2. Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis,
  3. Lupus.

Why is there so much confusion about fibromyalgia and autoimmunity?

  • A great deal of confusion regarding this question results from a misunderstanding of what autoimmunity means. When people think of immune system dysfunction, they don’t realize that it can take many forms. Autoimmunity is just one of those forms.
  • As well, a lot of confusion occurs because of the similar symptomology between fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders. These symptoms are so similar including pain, fatigue and many other overlapping commonalities.
  • Fibromyalgia along with many other autoimmune disorders can be very difficult to diagnose– clinical diagnosis can take a considerable period of time.
  • As there is a poor understanding of fibromyalgia, it is commonly mischaracterized as an autoimmune disease because of the ready similarity it has with other autoimmune disorders.
  • Since fibromyalgia was initially misclassified as a rheumatic disorder and not a neurological condition there’s still some holdover by the public and even medical professionals to happened yet adapted to this new understanding.

Final thoughts

As medical science continues to unravel the true origins of fibromyalgia, we may discover that autoimmunity does play a more significant role than we currently believe.

Or perhaps, we will discover that it plays none at all. The current thinking regarding its origination is that hormonal irregularities as well as irregular neurotransmitter and enzyme behavior are responsible for fibromyalgia symptoms.