Is fibromyalgia Hereditary?

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Parents and children of fibromyalgia sufferers are eight times more liable to get fibromyalgia than those in families that don’t show signs of the disorder. It could be the result of a genetic tendency that is passed from mother to daughter. There may also be a hormonal component, which could explain why more women than men are affected.

The odds of developing fibromyalgia are several times higher in the immediate families of people with fibromyalgia than in families in which no one has fibromyalgia. Why these disorders appear to run in families has been cleared by studies of DNA from family members of fibromyalgia sufferers and other pain disorders. Each of these genes plays a role in your nervous system’s response to pain. Some of the identical genes are also related with depression and nervousness, which may be the cause why certain antidepressant medications help decrease fibromyalgia symptoms.

Pain is influenced equally by genetic and environmental factors, working in concert to control how humans process it. Pain sensitivity falls on a bell-shaped curve in the general population. The higher the volume control setting, the more pain a person will practice, irrespective of nociceptive input. During the past decade pain research has focused on single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to help decipher which genes may be involved in pain generation.

Actually, similar genetic factors have been acknowledged amongst patients with fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain (CWP). Investigations have looked for altered DNA sequence variations of a single nucleotide (A, T, C, or G). Other genetic advances in pain research include genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and epigenetics. CWP and fibromyalgia has a genetic basis. Researchers found a 20% to 40% increased chances of chronic musculoskeletal pain (CMP) in grown-up sons and daughters of parents with CWP. This study was conducted in Norway.

“Both sons and daughters had an odds ratio of 1.6 (95% CI 1.4 to 1.9) when both parents reported CMP, compared to when none of the parents had CMP,” noted the authors. Fascinatingly, genetic danger does not constantly mean clinical disability. For instance, in the Norway study, the chances of inheriting CWP were not influenced by whether the parent had restricted capability to work or benefit from leisure time.

Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a familiar chronic prevalent pain syndrome mostly affecting women. Varieties of neuroendocrine disturbances, as well as abnormalities of autonomic function, have been implicated in etiology of fibromyalgia despite of the fact that its etiology is not completely understood.

 

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The contact of a genetically prone individual to a host of environmental stressors is supposed to lead to the progress of FMS. FMS is characterized by a strong familial aggregation. Serotoninergic, dopaminergic and catecholaminergic play a role in polymorphisms of genes. The mode of inheritance in FMS is unknown, but it is most probably polygenic. Detection of these gene polymorphisms direct a more balanced pharmacological approach and may facilitate to better subgroup FMS patients. The function of genetics in FMS will be further made clear by studies in bigger cohorts groups and matching control groups.

Fibromyalgia is 50% genetic and 50% environmental according to researchers. Four dissimilar gene variants are strongly coupled with the condition. Some of the genes play a role in the nervous system’s response to pain and pressure. Others are the identical genes linked with despair which is why certain anti-depression medications help to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.

Even if you are not unhappy, you may be prescribed antidepressants as part of your fibromyalgia cure plan. Even though there are associations between certain genes and fibromyalgia, a specific gene has not been recognized. In other words, it’s still too soon to for genetic testing or screening to be of any use. I’m optimistic in the future that there will be genetic testing accessible for FMS. I believe they are close to developing a blood test that can confirm a positive diagnosis.

Although there is an increased risk of our children getting fibromyalgia, it is not a by any means a foregone conclusion. Fibromyalgia has been additionally investigated among various ethnic groups. Research has shown a particular occurrence in rural communities compared to city populations. Patients of non-Hispanic Caucasian or Asian descent are at a greater risk.

The rural urban differences are seen among several South East Asian countries as well. There are elevated levels of the DR4 antigen in 64% versus 30% amongst healthy controls shown by early genetic studies linking genes to fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is also connected appreciably to the HLA area. Studies have revealed association of genes involved in the metabolism of serotonin with fibromyalgia. The most regularly studied gene in this respect is the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) promoter area in fibromyalgia.

The link of fibromyalgia with the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene variants is one more area to be studied. The COMT gene encodes an enzyme that metabolizes catecholamines (i.e., norepinephrine and dopamine). It therefore influences numerous modalities of pain awareness and sensitivity. COMT also has been implicated in the pathogenesis of migraine and anxiety disorders. There is a connection of fibromyalgia with COMT gene modification as well.

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References:

  • FAQS – Is fibromyalgia hereditary? Answers from Kevin C. Fleming, M.Dvia Mayo Clinic
  • Genetic Factors in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Widespread Pain By Don L. Goldenberg, MD via Practical Pain Management

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