Many times they have felt misunderstood. Or worse, accused of simulating an ailment. But now science gives them the reason. And is that geneticists have discovered that fibromyalgia is a pathology of neurological origin, resulting from neurochemical imbalances at the level of the central nervous system.
Thanks to a study carried out with 3,000 people -of whom two thirds of them were affected by fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue- it has been determined that there are 90 polymorphisms in the DNA of patients that affect the immune and nervous system.
This research “represents the only scientific evidence of genetic markers associated with fibromyalgia,” according to its authors, Genomic Genetics International (GGI). “There is enough evidence to consider this pathology as an organically based disease, provided it is well diagnosed,” explains Dr. José Ignacio Lao, director of GGI.
The problem suffered by patients suffering from this disease is that their immune system tends to respond in an exaggerated way. Geneticists have discovered the interaction of two genes that explain why the painful stimulus is stronger in patients with fibromyalgia.
There is even another gene -called opioid receptor mu- “that makes these people not only perceive more physical pain, but also the psychic”, wields the director of the GGI. “A social rejection or a break of a couple leaves a deeper impression than other people who do not have this genetic variant,” he adds. Beyond the pains suffered by fibromyalgia sufferers – “at all levels, not only skeletal muscle”,
Lao points out- these are affected by their ability to maintain brain chemical balance. They suffer from a deficit of neurotransmitters – the brain chemicals responsible for nerve transmission – hence, within the pathology there is an inclination to memory loss (early cognitive impairment), to depression and sleep disorders, for lack of serotonin. “Even stressful situations for them trigger outbreaks of the disease,” recalls the director of the GGI.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE STIGMA?
Although fibromyalgia was identified as pathology by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1992 -including within the rheumatism in the International Classification of Diseases-, many of the people who suffer from it have had to endure unjustifiably the hard stigma of being simulating, in the eyes of others, a disease. Although today fibromyalgia does not have a medical remedy, the truth is that there are many hopes placed in the field of biotechnology so that it can find a definitive solution. Genetics is already developing new therapeutic agents. You can even do preventive medicine in families with a history.
And is that in family environments where there is a case of fibromyalgia is multiplied by eight the likelihood of more cases appear, as statistics show. In Spain it is estimated that 2.4% of the population suffers from fibromyalgia. There are even cases in children, although few, in which this hypersensitivity already appears. In fact, many of the people who suffer from the disease of older adults explain that as children they were hypersensitive to certain stimuli.