Can fibromyalgia run in the family?

Does Genetics Play a Part in Fibromyalgia?

The reason for this is that fibromyalgia seems to be a complicated condition that is caused by a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors. However, fibromyalgia does tend to run in families, so it is obvious that there is some genetic component to why people have fibromyalgia.
  Does Genetics Play a Part in Fibromyalgia?





Health researchers are still unsure of what causes fibromyalgia. The reason for this is that fibromyalgia seems to be a complicated condition that is caused by a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors. However, fibromyalgia does tend to run in families, so it is obvious that there is some genetic component to why people have fibromyalgia. Genetics is not the whole story, but it does have an influence on the development of fibromyalgia. The degree to which genetics plays a role in the development of fibromyalgia is unknown, but specific genetic markers and inheritance patterns for fibromyalgia can be studied.

Fibromyalgia is not inherited in a straightforward Mendelian fashion, like some genetic diseases are. Instead, certain genes make people more susceptible to developing fibromyalgia. These genes show a correlation to fibromyalgia and are referred to as genetic markers. Studies have uncovered lots of different potential genetic markers for fibromyalgia, but none are specific to fibromyalgia or guarantee that a person will have fibromyalgia.






It is most likely that there are many genes involved in the development of fibromyalgia; this is a type of inheritance called polygenic inheritance. The function of the identified genes is not always known, but the most common scenario is that the gene, when expressed, indirectly affects the central nervous system. Individual genes may have a minor role, but the more genetic markers for fibromyalgia someone has, the more likely they are to develop the condition. Some genes may be more important in the development of fibromyalgia than others; this is yet to be determined.

Genetic testing is probably not going to be particularly useful for diagnosis of fibromyalgia, because the genetic markers of fibromyalgia are numerous and nonspecific. A particular genetic marker could mean that someone is more likely to have fibromyalgia, or it could also mean that they are suffering from depression or another condition that commonly occurs with fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is linked to a lot of other conditions, including depression and anxiety; genetics explains, in part, why these mood disorders are linked to fibromyalgia. The other piece of that puzzle is environmental: the chronic pain and severe fatigue involved with fibromyalgia is a stressful thing to deal with, plus it can make a person more socially isolated. Being in this situation makes a person more susceptible to anxiety problems and depression.

If genetics makes a person more susceptible to developing fibromyalgia, what is the trigger that causes the onset of fibromyalgia? Experts don’t know the answer to that question, but many environmental factors have been shown to play a role. Trauma, whether severe emotional trauma or a physical ordeal, can make a person more likely to develop fibromyalgia. Stress can make susceptible individuals have worsened fibromyalgia symptoms, just like it predisposes people to a whole host of problems like anxiety and depression. It is also thought that fibromyalgia may be tied to certain other illnesses; once a person who is susceptible contracts a certain type of illness, they may be more likely to develop fibromyalgia.





The bottom line is that the development of fibromyalgia is complicated and multifaceted. Different individuals with fibromyalgia have different genetic susceptibilities and different stories. These differences play a role in why people with fibromyalgia have the core symptoms of the disease, such as muscle pain and fatigue, but the other symptoms that are experienced by fibromyalgia patients are widely variable.

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