Local doctor fighting fibromyalgia
New sleep study aims to reduce most common symptoms for affected patients
SouthCoast Health’s Dr. Victor Rosenfeld’s recently published a sleep study that simplifies the diagnosis for fibromyalgia, could improve pain and stress as well as address the lack of sleep in patients affected by the syndrome.
Rosenfeld, head of the neurology department and medical director at SouthCoast Health, had his study published in the Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology’s April 2015 edition.
Rosenfeld tested nearly 500 patients with and without fibromyalgia in a sleep lab. While the patients slept, Rosenfeld observed their brain waves through a process known as quantitative EEG and utilized the process to monitor the patients’ alpha waves.
The brain creates alpha waves while it is awake, Rosenfeld said. He detected alpha waves in the vast majority of fibromyalgia patients but did not in those without fibromyalgia.
“Even though people with fibromyalgia are technically asleep, their brain waves look more like they’re awake,” Rosenfeld said. “In essence, people with fibromyalgia are pulling an all-nighter every single night.”
Such a finding explains why most fibromyalgia patients often report feeling tired, fatigued, achy and unfocused, he said.
Fibromyalgia is the most common widespread pain syndrome in the world, and it affects between 2 and 6 percent of the population. Women are eight times more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men, according to Rosenfeld. Fibromyalgia’s cost to the U.S. economy is estimated at $10 billion annually.
Rosenfeld’s study has the potential to reduce that figure by eliminating unnecessary testing for the condition.
There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, so it’s not uncommon for patients to visit with cardiologists, gastroenterologists and rheumatologists before they get a proper diagnosis.
“Fibromyalgia patients have a bewildering array of symptoms, so they’ll typically go see many types of doctors,” Rosenfeld said. “Now we can easily and quickly identify the condition and save millions of dollars potentially from wasted time and diagnoses.”
The sleep study is widely available. Its easy accessibility allows patients to receive a quick diagnosis and to get started on a treatment plan that addresses their symptoms.
Since there’s no known cure for fibromyalgia, reducing pain levels in patients is important, Rosenfeld said. Exercise, especially aquatic therapies, as well as improving one’s diet helps reduce symptoms.
Above all, improving patients’ sleep is at the top of the agenda.
“Focusing on the patients’ sleep and helping their sleep is probably one of the most important things that we can do,” Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld published the study, which is titled as “Polysomnography With Quantitative EEG in Patients With and Without Fibromyalgia,” alongside co-authors Dana N. Rutledge, a nursing professor at California State-Fullerton, and Dr. John M. Stern, director of the Epilepsy Clinical Program at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.
Rosenfeld, head of the neurology, is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine and has been published in several medical publications on topics such as sleep medicine, Huntington’s disease and sleep apnea.
I have fibromyalgia and it is awful, fatigue, brain fog, body pain, The only exercise, I found that doesn’t hurt me as bad as others is swimming. But I still pay for it the next day. I always pay the next day for any extra activity. I have found taking a warm bath helps before bed, 3 ft heating pad. Sometimes I have to elevate my legs others I don’t . I have learned to learn my limits, and becareful not to do to much. I can’t find any triggers accept stress, lack of sleep and doing to much. I can’t find anything in my diet accept I must keep my protein intake up. Anyways if anyone has any ideas on how to help ease their symptoms, let’s talk.
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