Fibromyalgia: Malfunctions in Two Key Body Systems May Contribute

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by purplepooh, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. purplepooh

    purplepooh New Member

    Nov. 16, 1999 (New York) -- According to the findings of a recent study, women with fibromyalgia may have malfunctions in two key systems -- the autonomic ("automatic" or self-controlling) nervous system and the HPA axis, which regulates production of certain hormones and the body?s response to stress.

    Boston researchers discovered that the HPA axis -- a complex brain-to-body pathway involving the hypothalamus and the pituitary and adrenal glands -- is damaged. As a result, it does not properly regulate production of cortisol, a hormone with widespread effects throughout the body.

    "Impairment of these neuroendocrine systems may explain the [underlying body-system malfunctions] of fibromyalgia as well as the overlap in signs and symptoms between fibromyalgia and related disorders," write Gail K. Adler, MD, PhD, and fellow Harvard Medical School researchers. The study was conducted at Brigham & Women's Hospital, affiliated with Harvard, and published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

    A chronic disorder, fibromyalgia is characterized in part by extreme fatigue, widespread musculoskeletal pain, multiple tender body points, and sleep disturbances. It affects an estimated 3 to 6 million Americans, primarily women of childbearing age.

    The existence of fibromyalgia as a distinct disorder has sparked a great deal of controversy over the past decade. This is due in part to a lack of traditional scientific standards to define or explain fibromyalgia and other poorly understood, often-overlapping conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and migraine.

    Some studies have suggested that women with fibromyalgia have decreased function of the HPA axis, while others have found that there may be an excess of activity in the same system. In both cases, levels of key hormones are affected, in turn resulting in the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

    The HPA axis and the autonomic nervous system are the major pathways for body responses to stressful conditions -- for example, pain, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, exercise, trauma, and infection. Both systems also are influenced by genetic and environmental factors and by chronic illness. "Furthermore, factors associated with fibromyalgia, such as medication use or changes in physical activity, could influence these systems," Adler and colleagues write. "However, because [affected hormones] ? and the autonomic nervous system influence pain, alertness, gastrointestinal motility, fatigue, ? blood pressure, and immune function, dysfunction of either of these systems might contribute," they say, to the start of fibromyalgia or its persistence.

    I hope this helps.

  2. Txslady

    Txslady New Member

    This article has made some things clear for me now. Thank you so much for posting it.

    2 years ago I did a 24 hour saliva cortisol test. The morning sample was okay, I did a sample 3 more times that day and they were all below normal and the last one had none. The doc suggested adrenal fatigue and put me on cortisol in the afternoon, that was the best I felt in years. Because of this article I am convinced that they problem is in the endocronine system.

  3. sfrazier

    sfrazier New Member

    That artical gives a lot of good information and it's nice to know that Harvard knows that fibro is more then a syndrom. However I couldn't help but to notice that the article was written May 16, 1999. Yet in the year 2006 there are still doctors out there that are so either misinformed or just to old and stubborn to admit that fibro is real and not just in your head and not just because you are depressed.

    I wonder if maybe some of the people on this site that have trouble finding a good doctor shouldn't print your message out and take it with them when they go to find a good fibro doc. The ones that say that it is all in your head or your depressed you just whip out that articel and show it to them. lol. Bet you they won't see you again but the look on their faces might be priceless.
  4. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member


    Yes, a very good article.

    Thank you,

  5. hob

    hob New Member

    These articles really help though it may take a while to read and understand. I feel lately like I'm crazy because of the emtional drain this causes.

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