Is Fibromyalgia Genetic?

can you inherit FMS?
Is Fibromyalgia Hereditary?

Doctors still do not know the answer to this question, mainly because there have not been enough wide-spread studies. However early indications are that yes, it appears that you can inherit certain genes that make you more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

The Research
In 2008 a team of Swedish researchers set about studying if fibromyalgia is triggered by nature or nurture. In other words, was it hereditary or did some environmental factor cause it. They studied a sizeable group of twins, some of whom were raised together and others apart. They discovered that the risk of developing chronic pain (one of the main signs of fibromyalgia) is 50 percent genetic and 50 percent environmental. People who suffer chronic pain, appear to be more sensitive to pain - it basically takes less to 'hurt' them. This sensitivity it seems may be genetically inherited or it can be triggered by environmental factors. Possible environmental triggers include extreme stress, surgery, an accident or viral infection (see causes of fibromyalgia). One UK study showed that people who were involved in a car accident or had prolonged hospitalization as a child were 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop fibromyalgia later in life (further evidence of the environmental link). Further proof of the genetic link came from a study by the University of Cincinnati in 2004 which found that relatives of fibromyalgia patients were 8 times more likely to develop the syndrome, than those with no family connection. And even if the relatives of fibromyalgia patients didn't develop the disease they did tend to suffer more pain than the average person. See also, can an accident or trauma trigger fibromyalgia?

Considering other possible triggers and causes: Can a viral infection trigger fibromyalgia?

Is There A Fibromyalgia Gene?

Four different gene variants are strongly associated with the condition. Some of the genes play a role in the nervous system's response to pain and pressure. Others are the same genes associated with depression which is why certain anti-depression medications help to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms. Even if you are not depressed, you may be prescribed antidepressants as part of your fibromyalgia treatment plan. For more about this, see our article about fibromyalgia medications. Although there are links between certain genes and fibromyalgia, a specific gene has not been identified. In other words, it’s still too soon to for genetic testing or screening to be of any use.

Related Articles
• Take our quiz: What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
• Do you have pain in more than 11 points in the body? Read about fibromyalgia tender points.
• For those diagnosed with FMS, see our tips on fibromyalgia diet and fibromyalgia exercises.
• Treatment options, meds and otc drugs: What is the best treatment for fibromyalgia pain?
• Ever wondered if there was a cure for the condition? Can fibromyalgia be cured?
• Reduce your need for drugs: What are the best exercises for fibromyalgia?
What is the difference between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia?
• Fibro versus arthritic pain: What is the difference between fibromyalgia and arthritis?

• Need more information? See: Fibromyalgia Guide
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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