By Dr. Bruce Gillis, MD, MPH
It is frequently said that “Ignorance is often Bliss.” But when it comes to fibromyalgia, ignorance can mean practicing medicine in a cruel, unacceptable and injurious manner.
We need to erase the misconception that fibromyalgia(FM) is a bogus affliction of neurotic, hysterical and hypochondriacal women. Doctors have an obligation to be as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to treating any specific medical illness. Who is willing to see a physician who knows only a little about particular medical disorders? Would you go to an auto mechanic who only knows that the engine in your car needs fuel and is unaware of what else makes that engine operate?
University medical experts have proven from studying hundreds of people with fibromyalgia that it is an actual medical illness and those fibromyalgia patients suffer with abnormally functioning, suppressed immune systems that are unable to produce normal quantities of vital and protective proteins. In other words, there is a real and abnormal process that can be detected and proven and which makes the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. It is the basis of a blood test, the FM/a® test, and people suspected to have FM are arranging to undergo it day after day. It merely requires a tiny amount of blood. And it is accurate, just like a test for HIV is accurate.
So, why don’t more doctors know about it? Insurance companies like Aetna, Blue Shield, United Healthcare and even Medicare know about and pay for it.
Perhaps its because the name fibromyalgia has been used for decades and it connotes a nonsense set of symptoms, like tenderness in only a random set of body areas. What this medical disorder ought to really be called is the “Immune Dysfunction Disorder” or IDD. Bet if you told your spouse, family and friends as well as your doctor you suffer with IDD instead of mentioning fibromyalgia they would express empathy instead of skepticism.
So, what is IDD? According to the medical university-based, peer-reviewed research concerning the discovery of the FM/a® test, it stems from the failure of certain white blood cells in your body’s immune system called peripheral blood mononuclear cells or monocytes to produce normal quantities of proteins called chemokines and cytokines.
Now the next time you see your doctor, ask her/him if they are familiar with how cytokines and chemokines function to protect your health. Ask them what role monocytes play in your body’s immune system. Its not as if you are asking them to prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. Every time they prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug like Advil/Motrin/Ibuprofen or Aleve/Naproxen to treat a person’s injury, they are using a medication that relies on the functioning of cytokines.
Then ask whether they have read the available, peer-reviewed medical publications on the website of www.fmtest.com?
No, ignorance isn’t bliss. When it comes to correctly diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia/Immune Dysfunction Disorder, it is unacceptable not to be familiar with how your body’s immune system works. Its time for your doctor to get up to speed on this real medical illness which affects women, children and men alike. It is the 21st century after all.