Friday, March 4, 2016

Is Fibromyalgia an Autoimmune Disorder?

I started to wonder this when I was diagnosed with seborrheic dermatitis the other day. I normally look like this photo taken a few months ago:

A couple of weeks ago, I used the same camera and looked like this:

Not very attractive and extremely uncomfortable. My scalp, face, and ears broke out with a rash that looks like a combination of measles and acne. The rash on my nose makes wearing glasses painful.

Naturally, I went to the doctor to see what it was and what could be done about it. Selsun Blue for my scalp and hydrocortisone cream for my face and ears. I am not quite back to the top photo, but I am looking a lot better than the bottom photo. I am extremely grateful that it can be treated, even though it can take a long time to go away completely.

Is seborrheic dermatitis an autoimmune disorder or related to fibromyalgia? The answer is neither, but people with a weakened immune system increase the risk of getting it. So can obese people and people with depression, and I am a depressed, obese person.

So, what is an autoimmune disorder?
NIH: U.S. National Library of Medicine

According to the NLM, autoimmune disorders can affect muscles and connective tissues. Some of the symptoms are: fatigue, fever, and joint pain.

If you have fibromyalgia, you might recognize those symptoms and definitely have muscle aches. 
Mayo Clinic

In an autoimmune disorder/disease, the healthy cells come under attack by the antibodies which normally defend them. In other words, the body attacks itself. These disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and type 1 diabetes.

People with RA and lupus can also get diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but fibromyalgia is not a condition where the healthy cells come under attack by the body's antibodies. Therefore, fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune disorder.