Is fibromyalgia hereditary?
Answers from Kevin C. Fleming, M.D.
Fibromyalgia isn't passed directly from parents to children, but the disorder does appear to cluster within families.
The odds of developing fibromyalgia are several times higher in the immediate families of people with fibromyalgia than in families in which no one has fibromyalgia.
In fact, studies of DNA from family members of people with fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes have turned up a number of genes that could help explain why these disorders seem to run in families.
Each of these genes plays a role in your nervous system's response to pain. Some of the same genes are also associated with depression and anxiety, which may be the reason why certain antidepressant medications help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms.
Kevin C. Fleming, M.D.
Nov. 08, 2014
- McMahon SB, et al. Wall & Melzack's Textbook of Pain. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Aug. 1, 2014.
- Goldenberg DL. Pathogenesis of fibromyalgia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Aug. 1, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Aug. 1, 2014.