Tip of the Day

Like other rheumatic diseases, fibromyalgia could be the result of a genetic tendency. When a woman with this tendency is exposed to certain emotional or physical stressors (like a traumatic crisis or serious illness), there is a change in her body's response to stress. Scientists theorize that one of these body changes is a low level of the hormone CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone), resulting in higher sensitivity to pain and more fatigue, including the fatigue one experiences after exercise. This hypersensitivity to pain may in part be from low levels of serotonin. Lower levels of serotonin cause a lower pain threshold and disordered sleep. The end result may be the chronic widespread pain of fibromyalgia. Some studies show that women have approximately seven times less serotonin in the brain, which may explain why FMS is more prevalent in women. Abnormal transport of serum tryptophan (a precursor for serotonin) has also been described in clinical findings. (Source: The Women's Guide to Ending Pain: An 8-Step Program, by Howard S. Smith, M.D., and Debra Fulghum Bruce, M.S. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)

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