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09/29/2013 08:09 AM

Has anyone had/heard of FM/a Blood Test?

Posts: 4
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Hi. I am new here and apologize in advance if this issue has been previously discussed. (I did search and did not see anything) In fact, I can any discussion on the WWW discussing this blood test period, which is interesting...

I was wondering if anyone has had the FM/a blood test that became available earlier this year (I believe) that can definitively confirm a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I mentioned it to my PC and she had not heard of it but did a little research and confirmed it is available. I contacted my insurance (Aetna) and they do cover this blood test. Once the lab receives the letter from insurance confirming it is covered (because it has been done so rarely they want confirmation), I am planning to have this test done.

Has anyone had this test?


09/29/2013 10:18 AM
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This is from WedMD, according to them, there is still no definitive test.


Because of a multifaceted treatment approach that involves medications and lifestyle strategies, the prognosis for people with fibromyalgia is better than ever before. But first, a doctor needs to make an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia. Are you wondering how that's done?

Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is regularly misunderstood. Despite all the latest information about fibromyalgia with its severe muscle pain, unrelenting fatigue and sleep problems, and feelings of anxiety and depression, doctors are still misdiagnosing this common pain disorder. As a result, some patients are getting a diagnosis for the wrong condition -- for example, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, or some other pain problem.

Recommended Related to Fibromyalgia

Finding the Right Fibromyalgia Doctor for You

If you have fibromyalgia, you will need to work closely with your doctor to manage it. First, you need an accurate diagnosis. Then you need an effective treatment plan for your illness. A specialist can accurately diagnose the disease, and prescribe medication, physical therapy, and other treatments. In addition, a fibromyalgia doctor may become a close, dependable friend you can talk to when you have worries and anxieties.

Read the Finding the Right Fibromyalgia Doctor for You article > >

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome with multiple symptoms that commonly occur together, including widespread pain, decreased pain threshold or tender points, incapacitating fatigue, and anxiety or depression.

Why Is Diagnosing Fibromyalgia Difficult?

On average, it takes five years for a person with fibromyalgia to get an accurate diagnosis. Some people go from doctor to doctor without receiving a medical diagnosis for their fibromyalgia symptoms. Many wonder if their painful symptoms are simply imagined.

In the past, millions of fibromyalgia patients were misdiagnosed as having depression, inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid or lupus, chronic myofascial pain, or chronic fatigue syndrome. There are, of course, a few similarities between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome and between fibromyalgia and arthritis. But fibromyalgia is different. It is a distinct condition that needs an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

What Tests Are Used to Diagnose Fibromyalgia?

Most laboratory tests are not very useful by themselves for diagnosing fibromyalgia. There is a blood test to help diagnose fibromyalgia. The test -- called FM/a -- identifies markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. Because the test is new, insurance may not cover it. Ask your doctor if the FM/a test is right for you.

Your doctor will often make a diagnosis after doing a physical exam and discussing your symptoms with you. The reason for this is that a diagnosis to large extent is based on the way you feel. For instance, even though your doctor may notice tender points during the physical exam, you still need to tell him or her about the pain you feel in those areas.

Your doctor will use a few lab tests to make sure you don't have a more serious medical condition. These tests can probably be done during one visit to a lab.

Among the specific blood tests that your doctor may order is a complete blood count (CBC). This test measures the hemoglobin, red cells, white cells, and platelets. It can also find many common blood disorders -- such as anemia - that can cause fatigue.

Your doctor may ask for tests -- including kidney and liver tests -- that check blood chemistries. Your doctor will probably want to know the level of cholesterol and other fats in your blood, calcium levels, and more. In addition, your doctor may run thyroid tests to see if your thyroid is overactive or underactive.

Will my Doctor Test for Inflammatory Arthritis?

Doctors who diagnose fibromyalgia usually test the red blood cell sedimentation rate. This test provides a rough index of inflammation in the body. In rheumatoid and other similar types of arthritis, this test is abnormal. It can also be abnormal with some infections. In cases of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, however, it is usually normal.

Your doctor might test for rheumatoid factor. This blood test measures an abnormal protein in the blood and is positive for 70% to 80% percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. But this blood test can also be positive in healthy individuals and is sometimes negative in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Your doctor may also test for anti-nuclear antibody (ANA). Like rheumatoid factor, ANA is an abnormal antibody in the blood. It is commonly found with systemic lupus. Lupus is more common in women, especially younger women, and can cause pain and fatigue. Lupus may also cause internal organ problems, such as kidney disease, heart disease, or problems in the brain.

Can X-rays Show Problems With Fibromyalgia?

With fibromyalgia, X-rays of painful areas will show no abnormality. If you have another problem, such as arthritis, then there may be some abnormalities on the X-rays to indicate what type of arthritis you have. Keep in mind that any X-ray changes are not due to fibromyalgia.

Will my Doctor Know Which Tests Might Rule out Serious Problems?

Talk openly with your doctor in order to understand the overall results of the diagnostic process. Ask your doctor to explain the findings from the physical exam, the lab testing, and the X-rays. Doing so will help you understand your fibromyalgia. Be sure to ask questions about fibromyalgia, its symptoms, and your treatment options.

What Are the Diagnostic Guidelines for Fibromyalgia?

After ruling out another serious medical problem, your doctor will consider whether or not your condition meets two fibromyalgia criteria:

Has there been widespread pain in all four quadrants of your body for a minimum of three months?

Do you have tenderness or pain in at least 11 of 18 specific tender points when pressure is applied?

What Other Problems Will Be Assessed in Diagnosing Fibromyalgia?

To be thorough in making a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, your doctor will do the following six things:

check for widespread pain

evaluate trigger points

ask about fatigue

inquire about sleep disturbances

evaluate your level of stress

test for depression

What Happens if I'm Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia?

If you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, your doctor will discuss a multifaceted treatment program with you. That program includes medications, exercise, stress reduction, sleep strategies, and more. Staying on this program will help ease your fibromyalgia symptoms so you can reclaim an active life and do the things you want to do. diagnosis-and-misdiagnosis

Post edited by: LinBC, at: 09/29/2013 10:19 AM

09/29/2013 10:23 AM
Posts: 2104
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I'm an Advocate

And this is from Medical Weekly Dated July 23, 2013

Fibromyalgia is a mysterious disorder that exemplifies all the complexities of chronic pain. Affecting the entire musculoskeletal system, the pain can occur throughout the body or at specific sites, while sufferers also experience sleep, memory, and mood disturbances. Fatigue is another signature symptom of the disorder. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, an estimated five million American adults, predominantly women, suffer from fibromyalgia.

Despite these numbers, little is known aout the biological basis of the condition and a simple way to diagnosis the disorder has long eluded doctors. Soon, quick and easy identification of fibromyalgia is on the horizon. Researchers from Ohio State have just discovered how to use a blood sample to detect the syndrome. Make no mistake as to how serious they are: They've already filed the patent.

Speed Is Key

"The importance of producing a faster diagnosis cannot be overstated, because patients experience tremendous stress during the diagnostic process. Just getting the diagnosis actually makes patients feel better and lowers costs because of reductions in anxiety," said lead author Dr. Kevin Hackshaw, associate professor of medicine, division of rheumatology and immunology, at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

To detect the presence of fibromyalgia in blood-spot samples collected from patients, the scientists used infrared microspectroscopy, a technology that can recognize molecular bonds as they are struck by light. Molecules within the blood samples, then, could be identified as they appeared within the infrared spectrum.

First, researchers obtained blood samples from 14 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, 15 with rheumatoid arthritis, and 12 with osteoarthritis. The spectroscopy is able to read dried blood, so only a few drops of blood from each patient were needed to run these experiments. Because they often produce similar symptoms to those of fibromyalgia, these types of arthritis were chosen as comparisons within the test. Next, the scientists analyzed each sample with the infrared microspectroscopy and without a single misclassification, the technology separated the subjects into classes based on spectral information alone. In other words, the technology accurately identified, based on molecular patterns found in the blood samples, each patient's condition.

"It separated them completely, with no misclassifications," said Tony Buffington, professor of veterinary clinical sciences at Ohio State University and senior author of the study. "That's very important. It never mistook a patient with fibromyalgia for a patient with arthritis. Clearly we need more numbers, but this showed the technique is quite effective."

Following this first experiment, the researchers analyzed some other chemicals in the fibromyalgia blood samples, chemicals that could potentially function as biomarkers someday. Further studies, Buffington explained, would be needed to ascertain clear biomarkers.

Test Price And Availability

Although the technology would be prohibitively expensive for most physicians' offices, Buffington explained how a central lab could purchase the infrared microscope for affordable testing. The fact that dried blood samples are used in this process would also provide economic advantage, because such samples could be sent through the U.S. mail service. In fact, the authors believe this test, if refined and made available to physicians, could eliminate years of waiting for a definitive diagnosis, which is the circumstance for all too many patients today.

Buffington is a veterinarian and a renowned as an expert on domestic cats. His research focuses on a painful bladder disorder, suffered by both cats and humans, called interstitial cystitis (IC). The genesis of IC, just like fibromyalgia, cannot be traced within the body. Categorized as "medically unexplained" or "functional syndromes," these disorders suggest a common link exists among them, with origins in the central nervous system. This new test, then, might help explain these disorders and reveal the possible link between them.

"We would like this to lead to an objective test for primary care doctors to use, which could produce a diagnosis as much as five years before it usually occurs," said Buffington. only-blood-sample-required-247946

09/29/2013 10:27 AM
Posts: 2104
Group Leader
I'm an Advocate

So, it is being worked on, and it looks like there will be a diagnostic blood soon, but is soon next week, or is it 4 years from now. Also, I remember I had to have an AIDS test for an insurance policy because I'd had a blood transfusion. The test was very expensive at the time. And it took weeks to get the results.

Now it's a cheek swab and takes about a week to get the results, and it's not cost prohibitive.

09/29/2013 10:30 AM
DarylPosts: 31

I wish there was a blood test for fm. People say you look fine, while inside you are in fatigued and in agony. I believe a car accident was the catalyst for fm, many times I wish it had left me physically damaged. Lucky for me, the majority of the time I have had supportive, caring doctors. Good luck in your fm journey.

09/29/2013 02:21 PM
Posts: 4
New Member


This was in the info you posted of webMD and is what I am talking about:

"There is a blood test to help diagnose fibromyalgia. The test -- called FM/a -- identifies markers produced by immune system blood cells in people with fibromyalgia. Because the test is new, insurance may not cover it. Ask your doctor if the FM/a test is right for you."

I don't know if you read my whole posting, but what I am saying is there IS a diagnostic simple blood test. I am HAVING it done- I confirmed that it exists with a physician and also that it IS covered by my health insurance. I was asking if anyone has had it.

New Fibromyalgia Blood Test is 99% Accurate

July 30th, 2013 by Pat Anson, Editor

A new blood test for fibromyalgia is more accurate than previously thought and will not confuse the chronic pain disorder with other diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, according to the physician who developed the test.

“We have not seen any overlap between the biomarkers in fibromyalgia and the immune system patterns of patients with rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. That really takes the air out of the sails of any naysayers that are out there,” said Bruce Gillis, MD, founder and CEO of EpicGenetics, a bioresearch company based in Santa Monica, CA

Here is the link to the entire article: fibromyalgia-blood-test-is-99-accurate-8821072.html

09/29/2013 02:25 PM
Posts: 4
New Member

"EpicGenetics introduced the FM test in March, calling it the first definitive blood test for fibromyalgia, a poorly understood disorder that is characterized by deep tissue pain, fatigue, headaches, depression and lack of sleep. Test results are usually available in about a week."

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