Understanding Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a nervous system disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain often accompanied by other multisystem symptoms. It is believed that people with fibromyalgia experience amplified pain signals due to an abnormality in the way the brain processes pain signals. In some cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time however in other cases, symptoms are precipitated by a triggering event such as physical trauma, infection, or a significant psychological stress event.

It is estimated that up to 5 million Americans currently have fibromyalgia with the vast majority of affected individuals being women.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia may include:

  • Generalized body pain
  • Significant fatigue
  • Tension headaches
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

How is Fibromyalgia Linked to Mitochondrial Dysfunction?

Recent studies have shown evidence demonstrating that oxidative stress may play a role in the pathophysiology of FM. Signs and symptoms associated with muscular alteration and mitochondrial dysfunction have been reported in patients with fibromyalgia [1].

In a 2010 study of 20 fibromyalgia patients compared to 10 healthy controls demonstrated that fibromyalgia patients had 1) reduced levels of coenzyme Q10 2) decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and 3) increased levels of lipid peroxidation, a marker of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. Decreased numbers of mitochondria per cell were also observed in the fibromyalgia patients.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a mechanism that may explain the multisystem range of symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia patients. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction appear to be common events in patients with fibromyalgia. 

Improving mitochondrial health can play a significant role in managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Consulting with a healthcare professional experienced in fibromyalgia management can provide personalized guidance on incorporating these strategies into a comprehensive treatment plan.

References: [1] Cordero, M., Moreno-Fernandez, A., Campa, F., Bonal, P., Carmona-Lopez, I., & de Miguel, M. (2010). Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in fibromyalgia. Neuro endocrinology letters. 

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