According to scientists, fibromyalgia, an agonizing condition that causes pain throughout the body, can be caused by insulin resistance.
Patients with fibromyalgia and other forms of chronic pain have been given new hope after a new and innovative health study on how their symptoms could be treated successfully.
Researchers have found that the agonizing condition can be caused by insulin resistance and could be treated with a common medication taken by diabetics.
Scientists hope that their findings can lead to a major change in the way chronic pain is treated and, potentially, save billions in pain killers
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain throughout the body and other symptoms such as extreme tiredness, headaches, muscle stiffness and difficulty sleeping.
Fibromyalgia could be treated with a common medication taken by diabetics. It can affect even the healthiest and fittest people, and has been included in a list of 20 painful NHS diseases that can prevent someone from performing daily tasks.
The exact cause is unknown, there is no cure and it is believed that it affects almost seven times more women than men.
Celebrities suffering from the condition include pop star Lady Gaga, actor Morgan Freeman and singer Sinead O’Connor.
Revealing their findings, University of Texas scientists said they identified people with fibromyalgia by a common blood test, A1c, for insulin resistance or prediabetes.
During their study, they treated fibromyalgia patients with metformin, a drug used to fight insulin resistance in diabetics.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and there is no cure. All patients experienced reduced pain, the scientists said.
They also found that the blood glucose levels of all the patients were much higher than the levels in normal people.
The professor of neurology, Dr. Miguel Pappolla, said that previous studies had overlooked the connection between fibromyalgia and A1c levels.
He added: “The main reason for this monitoring is that approximately half of patients with fibromyalgia have A1c (blood glucose) values currently considered within the normal range.
“However, this is the first study that analyzes these normalized levels for the age of the person, since the optimal levels of A1c vary throughout life.
“The adjustment for the age of the patients was fundamental to highlight the differences between the patients and the control subjects”.
He said that prediabetes patients who had slightly higher A1c values had an increased risk of developing headaches, a symptom of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain disorders.
The treatment for fibromyalgia includes medications such as antidepressants and analgesics, speech therapies, exercises and relaxation techniques.
It is believed that the cause is related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages that are transmitted throughout the body.
The NHS adds: “It is also suggested that some people are more likely to develop fibromyalgia due to genes inherited from their parents.”
In many cases, it seems to be triggered by a physically emotional or stressful event, such as an injury, childbirth, an operation, a rupture or the death of a loved one.
Fibromyalgia Action UK says about the condition: “Pain tends to feel like a diffuse pain or burning, often described as from head to toe.
“It can be worse in some moments than in others.
“You can also change the location, it usually becomes more severe in the parts of the body that are most used.
“Fatigue varies from feeling tired to exhaustion of a flu-like illness.
“It can come and go and people can suddenly feel exhausted from all the energy, as if someone simply ‘disconnected’.”