Fibromyalgia

  • Medical Author:
    Catherine Burt Driver, MD

    Catherine Burt Driver, MD, is board certified in internal medicine and rheumatology by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Driver is a member of the American College of Rheumatology. She currently is in active practice in the field of rheumatology in Mission Viejo, Calif., where she is a partner in Mission Internal Medical Group.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideFibromyalgia Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Is fibromyalgia hereditary?

Increasing evidence supports a strong genetic component to fibromyalgia. Siblings, parents, and children of people with fibromyalgia are eight times more likely to have the disorder than those who have no relatives with the health condition. There are several genes that have been suspected to play a role in fibromyalgia syndrome. Studies in twins suggest that half the risk of fibromyalgia and related disorders is genetic and half is environmental.

What are risk factors for fibromyalgia?

Because it is in part hereditary, a family history of fibromyalgia syndrome is a risk factor for the development of fibromyalgia. Other risk factors include autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and ankylosing spondylitis, as people with these diseases are more likely to have fibromyalgia than the general population. These patients are referred to as having "secondary fibromyalgia" because the autoimmune disease may trigger fibromyalgia.

Other emotional and physical stressors such as physical trauma (especially involving the spine and trunk), emotional stress, and certain infections (hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, parvovirus, and Lyme disease but not the common cold) are associated with the development of fibromyalgia in some.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/11/2017

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