Another wrong diagnosis for Lupus is Fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common, chronic, generalized pain syndrome of unknown origin. Although pain and tenderness are its defining features, fatigue, sleep disturbance, non-cardiac chest pain, depression and poor concentration are also common. FM is second only to osteoarthritis in frequency of visits to rheumatology clinics, and about 5% of women and 0.5% of men in the United States will be affected, and the majority will be between 30 to 50 years of age. Although diffuse pain and tenderness are its defining characteristics, over 75% also report chronic fatigue, a major contributor to the disability and impairment in FM. FM also associates with a variety of health problems including sleep disturbance, irritable bowel syndrome, and mood disorders. Although it is unclear whether persons with FM are more likely to have a psychiatric disorder than the general population, it is estimated that 20% to 40% of persons with FM experience mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. This is not surprising given the multiple symptoms, normal laboratory tests, feelings of victimization, loss of control, and generally ineffective treatments.
Moreover, routine tasks take longer to accomplish, and adaptations must be made to minimize pain and fatigue that negatively affect employment and social activities. Due to the constellation of symptoms associated with FM its impact can be severe. It associates with poorer quality of life than rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Moreover, it often promotes physical inactivity, social withdrawal, and psychological distress. FM also occurs commonly in patients with other rheumatic diseases, especially rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. One patient recently referred to their FM as, “A body toothache that stays with me all the time.”