Chicago, Illinois (NAPSI) - For decades, debate has raged over whether fibromyalgia is a real medical disease.
Despite the fact that fibromyalgia affects more than 12.3 million people in the United States - comparable to the number of people affected by cancer - some clinicians believe fibromyalgia is nothing more than a “syndrome.” When patients complain of chronic pain, diffuse muscle and joint tenderness, depression, mental fog, digestive troubles, severe fatigue, insomnia and other unbearable symptoms, they’ve often been told the problem is “in their heads.”
Recently published breakthrough research conducted at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago should end the debate—and stigma faced by fibromyalgia patients—once and for all. These studies, comparing fibromyalgia patients to healthy people, confirm that fibromyalgia is an immune system disorder.
The identification of this immune system pathway was not only honored with the 2012 American Association for Clinical Chemistry’s “Outstanding Research in Clinical and Diagnostic Immunology” award; it has also led to the first objective test capable of making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.
“What we discovered over years of research is that fibromyalgia patients have an abnormal immune system,” said Bruce S. Gillis, MD, MPH, lead researcher and founder of EpicGenetics. “These peer-reviewed results have finally been able to ‘tear back the curtain’ to reveal that fibromyalgia is an immune system dysregulation disease relating to the production of protein molecules called chemokines and cytokines by a certain type of white blood cell.”
On average, fibromyalgia patients spend 3-5 painful years seeking a diagnosis, and $4,800-$9,300 annually on associated medical costs. By comparison, The FM Test, which costs $744, is a quick, simple blood test that offers conclusive results, usually in a week or less—a fraction of the time and money currently spent by patients seeking a diagnosis.
Anyone with fibromyalgia symptoms can have his or her doctor order the test. Alternatively, patients may take a simple questionnaire at www.TheFMTest.com and utilize an FM Test physician to request a test. Those already diagnosed with fibromyalgia can take the test to confirm and establish a baseline that can be used to track treatment effectiveness.
“The FM Test represents an objective biomarker that will prove useful in the diagnosis of an enigmatic disease,” said Ernest Brahn, MD, professor of medicine, Division of Rheumatology, at the UCLA School of Medicine.