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Fibromyalgia Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis

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What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Fibromyalgia? continued...

Your doctor will use a few lab tests to make sure you don't have a more serious medical condition. These tests can probably be done during one visit to a lab.

Among the specific blood tests that your doctor may order is a complete blood count (CBC). This test measures the hemoglobin, red cells, white cells, and platelets. It can also find many common blood disorders -- such as anemia - that can cause fatigue.

Your doctor may ask for tests -- including kidney and liver tests -- that check blood chemistries. Your doctor will probably want to know the level of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, calcium levels, and more. In addition, your doctor may run thyroid tests to see if your thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Will my Doctor Test for Inflammatory Arthritis?

Doctors who diagnose fibromyalgia usually test the red blood cell sedimentation rate. This test provides a rough index of inflammation in the body. In rheumatoid and other similar types of arthritis, this test is abnormal. It can also be abnormal with some infections. In cases of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, however, it is usually normal.

Your doctor might test for rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP antibodies. These blood tests together can help diagnose between 50% and 80% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Your doctor may also test for anti-nuclear antibody (ANA). Like rheumatoid factor, ANA is an abnormal antibody in the blood. It is commonly found with systemic lupus. Lupus is more common in women, especially younger women, and can cause pain and fatigue. Lupus may also cause internal organ problems, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or problems in the brain.

Can X-rays Show Problems With Fibromyalgia?

With fibromyalgia, X-rays of painful areas usually show no abnormality. If you have another problem, such as arthritis, then there may be some abnormalities on the X-rays to indicate what type of arthritis you have. Keep in mind that any X-ray changes are not due to fibromyalgia.

Will my Doctor Know Which Tests Might Rule out Serious Problems?

Talk openly with your doctor in order to understand the overall results of the diagnostic process. Ask your doctor to explain the findings from the physical exam, the lab testing, and the X-rays. Doing so will help you understand your fibromyalgia. Be sure to ask questions about fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and your treatment options.

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