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Fibromyalgia and Diabetes

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD

Fibromyalgia is a condition that leads to symptoms of widespread pain, fatigue, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome etc. There are other symptoms such as cognitive symptoms, non-restorative sleep etc. that lead to a reduced quality of life. The prevalence of fibromyalgia in the United States is about 2% with the condition being seven to nine times higher in women than men.

Concomitance of fibromyalgia and diabetes

There have been studies that have evaluated concomitant conditions occurring with fibromyalgia. One aspect is to look for the association of fibromyalgia with diabetes mellitus. One such study looked at the prevalence of diabetes type 1 and type 2 among patients with fibromyalgia.

What is type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own insulin hormone producing cells in the pancreas.

A lack of the pancreatic hormone insulin causes blood levels of glucose to be raised. Patients with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes is associated with young age and is often called juvenile onset diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often called maturity onset diabetes as it occurs in the middle aged and is associated with insulin resistance and increased insulin demand due to factors such as obesity.

Fibromyalgia prevalence and other conditions

Studies assessing fibromyalgia prevalence and other conditions have found an increased prevalence of fibromyalgia among other autoimmune conditions like Lupus and Sjorgren’s syndrome etc.

Fibromyalgia and diabetes

It is seen that patients with diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. In addition, patients who have both fibromyalgia and diabetes tend to have higher levels of HbA1c indicating poorer glucose control.

Furthermore patients who have both diabetes and fibromyalgia have a higher number of tender points, increased pain scores, increased risk of sleep disturbances, fatigue, and headaches.

Research into fibromyalgia and diabetes in children

An important study assessed the prevalence of Juvenile Fibromyalgia in children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Results showed that fibromyalgia was more common in children with type 1 diabetes. These patients also had more severe pain, more fatigue and sleep impairment.

Reviewed by , BA Hons (Cantab)

Further Reading

Last Updated: Aug 7, 2013

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