New 23andMe+ Report on Fibromyalgia

23andMe released a new report (powered by 23andMe Research) on Fibromyalgia for 23andMe+ members. Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic pain and tenderness throughout the body. That pain can be intermittent and move to different parts of the body. Fibromyalgia symptoms can also include fatigue, problems sleeping, and difficulty concentrating.

Mayo Clinic provides some information about fibromyalgia. It is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non painful signals.

Symptoms often begin after an event, such as physical trauma, surgery, infection, or significant psychological stress. In the cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have Fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures may also help.

23andMe explains that the causes of fibromyalgia are not well understood, but genetics and other factors influence how likely an individual is to develop the condition. Researchers believe people with fibromyalgia have higher pain sensitivity. That may reflect differences in the nervous system of these individuals, especially in the brain and spinal cord.

While the exact causes are not understood, certain non-genetic factors are associated with a higher likelihood of developing the condition. A family history of the conditions also increases the odds of developing it. It’s also associated with other health conditions, like depression, viral infection, arthritis, and lupus. Stress or trauma are also associated with higher chances of developing fibromyalgia.

It’s estimated that as many as five million people in the U.S. live with fibromyalgia, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but its also believed that the condition is under-diagnosed, especially in men.

23andMe’s new report is powered by data from people who have consented to participate in 23andMe research and uses machine learning techniques to estimate an individual’s likelihood of developing fibromyalgia.

The estimate is made using a statistical model that includes 13,040 genetic markers and information on an individual’s ethnicity and birth sex. In this white paper you can learn more about the science and methodology behind our new report.

Managing and Treating Fibromyalgia

Although it’s not life-threatening, fibromyalgia can make day-to-day life difficult. Beyond the symptoms already described like chronic pain and fatigue, people with the condition also may deal with headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, or even a painful bladder.

Often those with the condition benefit from counseling or participate in support groups as part of a broader effort to manage their fibromyalgia. 

In addition, many experts agree that lifestyle habits may help manage symptoms and improve the quality of life for those with fibromyalgia. Regular exercise, good sleep and sleep habits, and stress-reduction or mindfulness techniques have been shown to help manage symptoms.

23andMe’s new Fibromyalgia report (powered by 23andMe Research) is available to all 23andMe+ members. Not a 23andMe+ member? To become a 23andMe+ member, or to find out more, go here.

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