Senior Veteran (female)
Join Date: Jan 2004
Re: Costochondritis ....
I also am having some tests done on my Thyroid. I had it checked by blood test 2 years ago and it came back negative, but I recently had a bone scan that was abnormal as far as a part of my thoracic area showed up "funny" which said it could be caused by a problem with my thyroid. So, I've got a new script for a blood test, which I haven't gotten done yet! (shame on me) but I DO have an Ultrasound of my Thyroid scheduled tomorrow. So we'll see, and yes I believe that an abnormal Thyroid is an autoimmune condition.
Now as for FM being an autoimmune condition, I believe it is, as do a lot of docs, but more believe it is not. Still, docs are not "schooled" enough in FM to believe it meets the criteria of an autoimmune disorder. But, having FM, means taking longer to heal from a virus, or a bacterial infection, also having FM means that we contract virus's and other infections easier, so all that points to an autoimmune condition.
So, I guess I didn't really give you a confirmed answer! LOL I think it is, so do a lot of docs, they treat it as an autoimmune disorder. But a lot of docs believe FM is "symptomatic" of some other underlying condition. I have no idea what that could be; some "stealth" disease! LOL
Look for a thread that has the title about "FM a syndrome or a disease?" I think that's what the title is. But you may have to go back a few pages of threads. I started the thread and it has a lot of research that support FM being classified as a disease, not just a syndrome. And it explains how and what components in our own CNS destroy our ability to fight off attacks on our immune system.
Also, there is another good thread on the boards titled: "The connection between all of us with FM" or something to that effect. It's a pretty "hot" thread, meaning it has a lot of replies. It seems that most of us have had some kind of encounter with MONO in our past. Epstien-Barr Virus is a virus that more than 90% of the world's population has. We get it during our childhood usually from common childhood diseases, like chicken pox. We carry it around inside of us forever until something "activates" it. We all have certain bacteria and fungus in our bodies that are supposed to be there. They are harmless, unless our immune system is compromised then these bacteria activate and cause "harry carey" in our bodies. EBV is one of those viruses. Once it becomes activated it can cause all kinds of things like Mono, MS, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkins, CFS, and other's I can't recall right here and now.
From reading the replies on that thread, it seems like most of those who posted have had Mono in the past. Mono is one of the very common results of an activated EBV. When Mono is dected, it is treated with anti-biotics over a course of time until the virus is gone. Usually once Mono has run it's course, EBV then becomes dormant and usually doesn't reoccur. Unless our immune system is weak, and we get some kind of infection that can "reactivate" EBV. With a weakend immune system EBV then remains positive for many years, if not forever. Which means that our immune system is now "open" to develop the conditions that EBV can cause. I recently had an EBV anti-body test ran that showed positive for a "past" infection. Which means that the EBV is now reactivated and will remain positive for many years, and that I can possibley pass it through salivia. EBV is only contagious and dangerous to your immune system if it has been reactivated and considered "chronic". We all have EBV, though it isn't "active". Mine is active all the time, for now. Which led my docs to confirm my dx of Chronic Fatigue Immune Disorder Syndrome. Though EBV is not linked to FM. Mono does seem to be one of the most common denominators that people with FM have.
Check out those threads I mentioned. They are here on the FM board, you just have to go back a couple or more pages to find them, but they are worth the time.
As for FM being an autoimmune disorder, I personally think it is. Just for the simple reasons that when we get sick, from ANYTHING, it takes twice as long for us to heal. I had E-Coli last year and it took me over a month to get over it, while it usually takes a couple weeks.
ME is CFS. Did you know that? ME is the "old" medical term for CFS. My suggestion to you is, use the "tools" right there at your fingertips to learn as much as you can about your symptoms. Knowledge is power. Now of course you have to be "selective" because of all the "get well quick" treatments out there. There is no cure for CFS or FM. Though there are very efficient ways to maintain it. Supplements are one way. Read the first thread on the FM board, it lists a lot of good supplements that have been shown to help FM symptoms.
Also, you said that you have trouble exercising. Usually people with only FM do very well if they begin an exercise routine and stick with it. It's very tough at first and you can only do a couple minutes at a time, then build up slowly. And there have been many members that have testified to the fact that they have felt much better once they got into a regular exercise routine. HOWEVER; with CFS, exercise can be awful. CFS does not respond well to exercise. Of course, even with CFS it is important to try and find something that will keep you moving in some way. Aqua Therapy is the best for both CFS and FM. It is low impact and very very good for your muscles and tendons. FM is a connective tissue disorder, while CFS is an autoimmune disorder. But muscles are muscles and they need stimulation. I have joined the local YMCA. It's cheaper than going to Physical Therapy that has pool therapy as part of it's routine. They usually just have a member ship fee, and an entry fee, and then you just go to which ever class is best for you. And they usually have classes that cover all different times of the day. You might find relief if you give the Aqua Therapy, or Water Aereobics as it's also called, a try.
Are you on any medications? Are you having a hard time sleeping, or staying asleep at night? Are you tired and sleeping a lot throughout the day? What about anxiety? Depression?
Are you scheduled to see a doctor soon? Which kind of doctor? Have you received ongoing treatment for your ME/CFS over the years? There are meds out there now that will help with the fatigue of CFS.
I can suggest some meds you may want to speak to your doctor about, if you do recieve a dx of FM. And I can suggest some meds that you can talk to your doc about that may help CFS. Also, if you feel you need psyc therapy, by all means, get it. I see a psyc and a social therapist regularly. It does help.
First, find a good doc, and don't be suprised if you have to go through a few docs before you find one that is good for you. Don't settle for a doctor that you aren't comfortable with.
Check out another thread here titled: "Have Anti-Depressants Helped You" or something like that. I can't recall the exact thread titles, my memory is awful! LOL But look for a thread that is asking about Anti-Depressants helping those of us with FM. It is pretty interesting.
Okay, I hope I helped you some. Good luck on your "hunting", and please keep us all posted as to any docs you see, or dx of FM you get, or don't get. It is a long journey for sure, but like I said, "knowlegde is power". Arm yourself with as much info as you can. And find a doc you like who seems willing to help you live a more comfortable life.
Here's wishing you a good spirit,
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world"