Monday, 13 May 2013

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

This is a question I've been asked many times. What is meant by this question is this: is the immune system 'responsible' for the symptoms of fibromyalgia? In other words, is immune system dysfunction the CAUSE of fibro.  Examples of clearly autoimmune diseases are systemic lupus erythematosis (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis, diseases in which a person's own immune cells (white blood cells) start attacking that person's own tissues. The theory is this: that someone is exposed to some virus, bacteria or other 'foreign invader', the immune system turns on to attack it (which is appropriate), but then the immune system also starts attacking the person's own tissue because some protein, sugar or fat or other molecule on the surface of the virus/bacteria looks close to some protein/sugar/fat on the surface of the person's own tissues.

There is definitely an autoimmune 'link' with fibro, as there is a significant association between fibro and a number of well-established autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and others. Specific abnormalities in white blood cell function have been identified as well, under a microscope. But none of this confirms that fibro itself is CAUSED by immune system dysfunction.

Attempts to identify a fibro-specific autoimmune antibody have not yet been successful.

And, though it's not difficult to rationalize that a fibro case is autoimmune in those whose symptoms start following a flu-like illness or other infection, or in the setting of some other auto-immune like lupus. On the other hand, it's somewhat difficult to justify an autoimmune cause in those whose fibro starts right after an injury, so-called 'post-traumatic fibromyalgia.'

Hence, I SUSPECT that a SUBSET of fibro cases have an autoimmune component to them. But how might affect treatment of fibro?

Well, those who have an underlying autoimmune disease (like lupus) should be treated accordingly, with attempts to reduce the autoimmune response. One such drug commonly used in severe cases of autoimmune disease, especially when the disease is out of control, is prednisone, a very potent immune system inhibitor. To date, the only study to assess whether suppressing the immune system in people with fibro works was a study, published about 20 years ago, in which patients were given Prednisone. In that study, Prednisone didn't seem to work. It IS possible, however, that such a drug MIGHT have an effect if we could isolate and treat those who specifically have an autoimmune component to their disease.

So, to get back to the question: Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disease?

I can confidently answer that I don't know. Again, I SUSPECT that SOME cases have an autoimmune basis. To date, all that can be done to identify such people is to look for the presence of other confirmable autoimmune diseases (like lupus) and treat them for those underlying diseases. In some, their fibro symptoms may improve as well.


Kevin White, MD, PhD, multiple award-winning researcher, author, teacher & speaker



10 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for doing these blogs on Fibromyalgia. It's such a confusing and frustrating disease/disorder/syndrome or whatever you want to call it. All I know is I was diagnosed with it a long time ago and it causes so many struggles in my life. I want to push past the pain and fatigue to have a normal life style however; the more I push the worse I get. I love you Dr. Kevin White and all that you do to help folks <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice post....Thank u for sharing this post.Fibromyalgia (FM or FMS) is characterised by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).acupuncture for pain chicago

    ReplyDelete
  3. Does the discovery of lymphatic vessels in the central nervous system shed any light or provide any new hypothesis' on what causes fibromyalgia in patients who develop it after an accident?

    http://www.nih.gov/researchmatters/june2015/06152015lymphatic.htm

    ReplyDelete
  4. I really loved reading your thoughts, obviously you know what are you talking about! Your site is so easy to use too, I’ve bookmark it in my folder
    rheumatoid arthritis

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a nice blog and very nice you work and sharing this wonderful article about the autoimmune diseases treatment good work.
    autoimmune diseases treatment

    ReplyDelete
  6. ALL THANKS TO DR WILLIAMS FOR THE GREAT DEED HE HAVE DONE FOR MY DAUGHTER?
    My daughter suffered from fibromyalgia for more than 12 years which we started experiencing in her when she turned 8 year and 5 months we all thought it will end but got even worse as days went by. We tried all several treatments and therapy prescribed by various doctors we met but to no avail, she always complain of joint stiffness, and have difficulty falling asleep. She usually tells me she feeling tired. This were steady disorder that disrupted her entire life, even at night she slept less because of this.It was during a casual conversation with a friend that i learned about Dr Williams herbal medicine I was able to contact him on his email address. and give him all the necessary information that he needed,few day later he sent me the herbal portion and his medicine was able to restore her back to normal and she is very okay now without any side effects whatsoever. If you have fibromyalgia, do not hesitate to contact him on drwilliams098675@gmail.com for advice and for his product. I hope this also helps someone out there

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dear FRIENDS,
    now i have a beautiful smiling face and so are which you all, after reading my testimony. My name is Nita, I am 31 years old,
    And live with my boyfriend in Belgium, but I am UK. I have been diagnosed with Fibromalgia since 2012, which the Doctors told me this condition was forever. I know how you feel and what you are going through, I don't have a baby though. I just want to tell you that I am cured now,with the help of doctor Williams herbal medication, the last time I can remember having Fibromalgia was October this year. It was a long and difficult process but I am so thankful to dr williams I don't have it anymore. Please know you can be cured too. Accept what happened and is happening to you, forgive, let the past go, love yourself and others unconditionally and be thankful. Everything happens for a reason. If you want to be in contact with dr williams and share your own testimony and thoughts feel free to e-mail him on; drwilliams098675@gmail.com for advice and for his product.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Dr Williams,his medicine was extremely helpful to my daughter. I have had a daughter with fibromyalgia for 21 years now , and my doctor have prescribe me with different kinds of western drugs without no improvement in my daughter symptoms . I am so glad I have found Dr Williams medicine (as I was surfing the net for a solution and saw a recommendation for it on a women's health forum early this year). I have felt so empowered by the knowledge you have given me and I quickly self diagnosed the individual cause of my daughter fibromyalgia and armed with his clear instructions, I was finally able to beat this monster, in less than 4 weeks of using dr Williams medication on my daughter. she went for a checkup and it was clear that my daughter fibromyalgia were gone,you can also email him on drwilliams098675@gmail.com for help.

    Thank you, thank you , thank you. Dr Williams "

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Dr Williams for everything he have done in my life. I have been in tears for so many years now, having found that my husband is suffering from fibromyalgia, lesion after some years of being under extreme stress., . I spent 24 hours freaking out and finally calmed down after reading some testimony on here about Dr Williams herbal medicine to fibromyalgia . The moment came and I mumbled out to my husband about Dr Williams product (with a few tears) and he was AMAZE – . He was just worried about his health, been free from this disorder, that was how will order for Dr Williams product on line , after my husband finish taking Dr Williams medicine for just within a period of one month. Will went to the doc together who confirmed that he was fibromyalgia free.
    Thank you again for being upfront, truthful and taking this pain away from my family for more information about his product you can email him on drwilliams098675@gmail.com i hope you can also help other terrified people in a similar situation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 9 YEARS FIBROMYALGIA CURED WITH HERBS: I am so happy sharing my mom's story of Fibromyalgia that almost ruined family of its happiness. It is known now that there is permanent cure to Fibromyalgia, to those still in doubt of this, my mom is a living Testimony. For 9yrs, my mom suffered from Fibromyalgia, many investigations have did took place to achieve a diagnosis, it came from nowhere. She is one of those millions of people around the world who suffered Fibromyalgia until God healed her completely with HIELAN Herbal Medications for fibro by Dr. Rodwen Thompson. the symptoms she was experiencing ranges from general tiredness lethargy to being properly depressed, isolated, feeling hopeless and miserable maybe because of the constant back pain that seem to get worse and worse on daily basis, pains down both arms, hips, legs, across her shoulders, right hand side of her back, left hand side of her neck, sometimes head as she said the pains were excruciating. She can never sleep at night when bad tingling all over her body cramps and temperature fluctuations, but do sleep a little at noon. Hospital became our second home until she finally received a definite diagnosed. I cry every day because I feel I was losing my mom. We search and search for help everywhere possible but none was forth coming. To cut the long story short, HIELAN brought us breakthrough. The Herbs proved very effective just after 3 months of use; today she is totally free from Fibro with no side effects. To know more about this product, visit: curetofibromyalgia.blogspot.com or you can write him directly via: dr.rodwenthompson@gmail.com. After she was cured, I realized that Our search for light begins when we get fed up with gross darkness.

    ReplyDelete