According to a paper published by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million - or as many as one in 50 - Americans. For unknown reasons, between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed with fibromyalgia are women; however, men and children also can be affected. Most people are diagnosed during middle age, although the symptoms often become present earlier in life.
People with certain rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (commonly called lupus), or ankylosing spondylitis (spinal arthritis) may be more likely to have fibromyalgia, too.
Several studies indicate that women who have a family member with fibromyalgia are more likely to have fibromyalgia themselves, but the exact reason for this - whether it be hereditary or caused by environmental factors or both - is unknown. One study supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) is trying to identify if certain genes predispose some people to fibromyalgia.
The Fibromyalgia Association UK reports that fibromyalgia affects between 2%-3% of the UK population, or 1.2 to 1.5 million people. Related Articles