Monday, January 16, 2012

Fibromyalgia Unveiled – Genetic and/or Environmental Factors

The cause of fibromyalgia still hasn’t been found. But we know of predispossing factors. Some findings hint at a genetic background as the high aggregation of fibromyalgia in families, you have an eight-fold increased risk of developing fibromyalgia than the general population, if one of your first degree relatives suffers from fibromyalgie, or genetic polymorphisms. With polymorphisms of the serotonin 5-HT2A receptor, dopamine-4 receptor, catecholamine o-methyl transferase (COMT), and others you also are at higher risk to develop fibromyalgia. These findings in the serotoninergic, dopaminergic, and catecholaminergic systems might show that the mode of inheritance is polygentic. One word of caution here: these findings are unspecific and have been found with other disorders as well, like chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine headache, and depression.

The genetic polymorphisms aren’t the disease, but may lead to a predisposition that eventually may be triggered into the beginning of the disease. These environmental factors or stressors have already been discussed for a long while. Peripheral pains like low back pain has been found with lots of fibromyalgia patients. Other stressors include psychological stress (mobbing for instance, abuse), accidents, catastrophies, viral infections, drugs, vaccines, hormonal alterations, and more.

We shall look into stress and stressors more carefully later.

Take home message: genetic and environmental factors both play a role in the development of fibromyalgia.

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