, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 67-75

Fibromyalgia

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Abstract

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a disease entity consisting of a heterogeneous cluster of symptoms that has thus far eluded identification of a causative etiology. The disease onset appears to follow physiological and/or psychological stressors and involves a subset of symptoms that are consistent with varied disorders found in multiple medical specialties to include rheumatology, immunology, endocrinology, neurology, and psychiatry. Owing to the heterogeneity of the symptom complex and the heretofore absence of serum markers that might serve as concrete diagnostic criteria, this disease has baffled clinicians and basic scientists alike. Recent findings regarding sleep architecture, immunology, and endocrinology have provided clues that may help in the understanding and resultant treatment of this entity. Women with fibromyalgia tend to present with an alpha-delta sleep anomaly, which when treated with a growth hormone secretagogue (GHS), reduces the rheumatological pain and restores slow-wave sleep architecture. These findings suggest the somatotrophic axis may be involved in the etiology and the treatment of this disorder. Those diagnosed with FM respond to various stressors with increased disruption of their physiological homeostasis. When compared to healthy agematched cohorts, there are quantitative differences in various neuroactive steroid levels, immunological markers, and feedback mechanisms. The varied physiological alterations in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia when compared to controls will be discussed along with the potential treatment options for this population.