Are Most Patients With Fibromyalgia Misdiagnosed?

Frederick Wolf, MD, describes the diagnosis process as a “negotiation” between patient and physician.

This is especially true with fibromyalgia, he says, because there is no specific test that can be used to determine it. Depending on the outcome of these exchanges, those with the condition can be left frustrated and confused, not to mention abused.

“Fibromyalgia is a type of elective diagnosis,” notes Dr. Wolf, a semi-retired rheumatologist who heads the Forward: National Rheumatic Diseases Data Bank in Wichita, Kansas.

“There is no blood test for fibromyalgia. Diagnosis is based on patient self-report and doctor evaluation. You can go to your doctor and say you are anxious or depressed, you have pain in many places, and some doctors may diagnose you with depression or anxiety. Some doctors may say, ‘You have muscle pain.’” Weber,” while others might say, “You have arthritis,” says Wolf.

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