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The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Sleep Disorders

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Fibromyalgia Syndrome Sleep Disorders:

A chronic condition known as fibromyalgia, commonly referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome, is characterised by widespread pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million people in the United States. Patients can cure and manage their symptoms by medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes even if it is unknown what causes this disorder.

Sleep issues are a typical fibromyalgia symptom. Some sufferers of the condition find that sleep problems make their symptoms worse and put them in a loop of agony and bad sleep. Fibromyalgia-related sleep difficulties can be resolved by practising good sleep hygiene and forming healthy sleep habits.

Today, it is believed that dysregulated systems in the central nervous system cause chronic pain in fibromyalgia sufferers. Some studies have looked into potential central brain dysfunctions that connect chronic pain and changes accountable for sleep abnormalities since fibromyalgia patients frequently report experiencing sleep disturbances.

Patients with fibromyalgia who underwent polysomnography showed increased EEG alpha activity during non-REM sleep, more arousals, and a higher frequency of cyclic alternating patterns. It has not been proven that there are any mechanisms connecting mood problems and chronic widespread pain. The association between polysomnographic results and clinical symptoms in fibromyalgia patients lends support to the idea of a theoretically shared mechanism called central sensation.

The first step in the therapeutic method is a sleep evaluation, which includes a review of past sleep patterns, a look for things that interfere with good sleep hygiene, and a diagnosis of any underlying conditions that may have an impact on sleep. Drugs for fibromyalgia that can enhance sleep quality have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but they are not specifically indicated for the treatment of sleep disturbances related to fibromyalgia. Patients with fibromyalgia should use both pharmaceutical and non-pharmacological treatments with caution, taking into account underlying diseases and potential combinations. They might, however, be a successful treatment for both the pain associated with fibromyalgia and the comorbid sleep disorder.

With many fibromyalgia sufferers reporting sleep disruptions, sleep disorders and fibromyalgia are frequently linked. There is a definite correlation between the two ailments, even if it is unclear whether sleep disturbances cause fibromyalgia to develop or vice versa.

Explore this link in more detail:

Disrupted Sleep Patterns: People who suffer from fibromyalgia frequently complain about having trouble getting asleep, staying asleep, and having non-restorative sleep. Even after a full night of sleep, they could feel worn out and unrefreshed when they awaken. These sleep issues can make fibromyalgia symptoms like pain, exhaustion and memory problems worse.

Sleep Apnea: Compared to the general population, those with fibromyalgia are more likely to have sleep apnea, a condition marked by breathing pauses while asleep. Frequent nighttime awakenings brought on by sleep apnea might result in fragmented sleep and weariness during the day. Both disorders can worsen symptoms and affect general health when present.

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS): RLS is a neurological condition marked by an overwhelming impulse to move the legs, which is frequently accompanied by unpleasant feelings. It is more typical in those with fibromyalgia and can seriously interrupt sleep. Increased sleep disruptions and pain may result from the coexistence of RLS and fibromyalgia.

Sleep Disorders as Precursors: According to certain studies, fibromyalgia may occur before sleep disturbances including insomnia or sleep disordered breathing. More research is required to determine whether chronic sleep deprivation or poor sleep quality causes the onset of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Shared Underlying Mechanisms: Sleep difficulties and fibromyalgia may have similar underlying causes. Neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for controlling sleep and processing pain, are dysregulated in both diseases. Additionally, both fibromyalgia and sleep difficulties have been linked to disruptions in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is involved in the stress response.

Managing the Relationship between Sleep Disorders and Fibromyalgia:

Sleep Hygiene: Good sleeping habits can enhance the quality of your sleep. Establish a regular sleep routine, make your bedroom pleasant, limit daytime naps, and stay away from stimulants like caffeine and smoking right before bed.

Treating Underlying Sleep Disorders: Consult a medical practitioner for a diagnosis and treatment options if you think you may have a sleep issue such sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome. The symptoms of fibromyalgia can be significantly reduced by treating these ailments.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): A specialised therapy called CBT-I focuses on altering sleep-related behaviours and thoughts. For those with fibromyalgia, it may be successful in enhancing sleep quality.

Medications: Healthcare providers may recommend certain drugs, such as sleep aids or drugs to treat RLS symptoms, to patients with fibromyalgia to help them sleep better.

By whom can fibromyalgia be diagnosed?

Fibromyalgia can be identified by a rheumatologist, internist, or family practitioner. Sometimes, after being seen by a family practice doctor or internist, the patient is sent to a rheumatologist for a diagnosis. Rheumatologists are internists or paediatricians with specialised training in fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and other rheumatic disorders.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia:

The number and kind of fibromyalgia symptoms vary from person to person, but exhaustion, cognitive impairment, chronic pain and stiffness, and sleep issues are typical.

1. Musculoskeletal pain: Parts of the body may feel sore, and the pain can range from a dull ache to a searing or shooting agony. Some people liken the physical discomfort to the illness. Numerous things, like physical activity, cold or wet weather, stress, or the time of day, might make the discomfort worse.

2. Tender points: Tender points, which are small, sensitive areas of the body, are a defining feature of fibromyalgia. Tender spots are localised regions of muscle and tendon tissue that are painful. Some people experience pain in each of the 19 delicate points because of the agony that emanates from these sites.

3. Stiffness: Stiffness, which is typically extensive and diffuse, is reported by many patients. Like other rheumatic disorders, the stiffness is frequently severe in the morning and may get better throughout the day. The day after physical activity or exercise, it typically gets worse.

4. Fatigue: Patients with fibromyalgia occasionally describe feeling worn out or heavy. It is typical to have brief bursts of energy (for 24 to 48 hours, for example), followed by a rebound into tiredness and lethargy.

If you are having fibromyalgia symptoms and sleep issues, it is crucial to speak with a healthcare expert for a thorough diagnosis and individualised treatment plan. They can offer advice based on your unique circumstances and medical background.

The American College of Rheumatology added a patient-reported measure of unrefreshing sleep (measured using visual analogue scales) to support a diagnosis of fibromyalgia in their preliminary diagnostic criteria for the condition and measurement of symptom severity in 2010. It makes sense to assess sleep issues for fibromyalgia patients as part of their checkup because treating sleep abnormalities could lessen their symptoms. Sleep apnoea syndrome, periodic limb movement, and any other medical disease that may be connected to sleep disturbances (diabetes, thyroid disorders, and hypertension) should all be ruled out. The fundamental ideas that guide the assessment of sleep and sleep disorders are covered in depth elsewhere. In people with fibromyalgia, treating sleep disturbances may lessen the severity of their symptoms and enhance their quality of life.

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The Link Between Fibromyalgia and Sleep Disorders