Why Does Fibromyalgia Weaken the Immune System? Things You Need to Know


June 9, 2021

Despite how unpleasant and debilitating it is, pain is unfortunately associated with numerous health disorders. According to a recent survey by the CDC, approximately 50 million adult Americans suffer from chronic pain conditions.

That said, if you’ve recently been experiencing intense body pain, then you might have Fibromyalgia. Read on to find out more about this condition and everything it entails.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

It is a health disorder that is mainly characterized by widespread pain all over the body. This often arises because the condition affects your tissues and muscles, leading to immense chronic pain and tenderness.

A recent CDC report states that this health condition affects about 4 million adults in the U.S., approximately 2% of the adult population. This goes to prove how serious this condition indeed is.

Besides chronic pain, some of the other common symptoms of Fibromyalgia include:

  • Constant fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Pain and stiffness all over the body
  • Persistent headaches, including headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Tingling or numbness on your hands and feet
  • Difficulties with concentration and memory

Additionally, those suffering from this health disorder tend to be more sensitive to pain compared to others.

What Are The Various Risk Factors?

While the exact cause of the condition is not clearly known, some of the risk factors of this disorder include the following:

  • Age: This is a health condition that can affect people of all age groups- from children to the elderly. However, it is mostly diagnosed in middle-aged adults, and the risk increases as you get older.
  • Pre-existing conditions: If you have Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis, you are more likely to develop Fibromyalgia.
  • Sex: Various studies have shown that this chronic pain disorder is more prevalent in women. In fact, great research suggests that around 90% of those diagnosed with the condition are usually women.

Does Fibromyalgia Weaken Your Immune System?

As we all know, the immune system is responsible for protecting our bodies against disease-causing organisms. Although research is still ongoing, various reports have proven that fibromyalgia does indeed weaken our immune system.

Firstly, studies have shown that fibromyalgia patients tend to have high counts of white blood cells and cytokines (immune cells), which is often observed when a patient is suffering from an infection. This in itself shows that this condition affects an individual’s immune system.

Similarly, further studies show that this disorder weakens our brain’s immune system. It does this by reducing the blood flow in the brain’s pain center, hence affecting the neuron receptors. This eventually leads to increased pain and stress levels and a weak immune system that is incapable of fighting off bacteria.

Experts also insist that various symptoms of this condition, such as lack of sleep, fatigue, and loss of appetite, may weaken your immune system’s ability to defend your body and keep you healthy.

In the same token, fibromyalgia usually leads to the decrease of a hormone known as cortisol, which in turn results in the increase of estrogen levels in the body. Consequently, the amount of progestin in the body decreases. According to researchers, this fluctuation of hormone levels in the body tends to weaken our immune system.

Although numerous studies have shown that fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disease (conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, whereby the body attacks healthy tissues), reliable research concurs that this condition does weaken your immune system by causing various abnormalities and irregularities.

Bottom Line

From this discussion, it is quite apparent that Fibromyalgia is indeed a serious health condition. However, you should not despair since numerous treatment options are available to anyone suffering from this condition. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on Fibromyalgia, as well as the available treatment options.