Thursday, August 1, 2013

A simple test

Right now the only way for a doctor to diagnose fibromyalgia in a patient is to press on a bunch of tender points. If more than so many of them are sore, the diagnosis is fibromyalgia. How easy. Not.

First of all when a patient shows up complaining of pain, other tests are done to rule out all sorts of other conditions. This can take time. As in months or years even.

It takes three to five years for a patient to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That is a really long time to live in pain. And often fibromyalgia is diagnosed with other conditions.

I was told I have fibro and have rheumatoid. We are trying to get the RA under control so we can then focus on treating the fibro pain. I was also told that it is often impossible to distinguish pain caused by RA vs. the pain caused by fibro.

I am in the state of still trying  to get the RA under control so we can talk fibro pain.

But now there is good news. There is a new diagnostic test to diagnose fibromyalgia. It is supposed to be 99% accurate. The problem is that it costs $744 and most insurance companies do not cover it. [That needs to change.]

And even more good news there are two more tests being developed that look at blood markers to diagnose fibro. These are still in development but represent lots of progress.

I will talk to my doctors about the new test and to my insurance company. Because the diagnosis criteria are relatively vague, in my mind, I think I would prefer a solid yes/no test. And if it could reduce the three to five year time frame to diagnose fibro for others, even better.

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