Fibromyalgia and Stroke – Whats the difference between them

By Naomi Prex Arbaa, MD

Fibromyalgia is a tough disease to cope with. It mainly takes years for a diagnosis and when you are told that you have fibromyalgia, you might be faced with cynicism from people at work, from your family or from your communal society. It is a disease that has no ultimate cure adding to the challenges of living with fibromyalgia. A variety of symptoms that affect numerous systems of the body are produced by fibromyalgia.

And, fibromyalgia can also manifest with stroke-like symptoms. If not scary living with repeated neurological problems may be infuriating. But, even though fibromyalgia can cause stroke-like symptoms, people with fibromyalgia can experience strokes, just like everybody else. This is reason, if you have fibromyalgia, you have to to be able to identify the signs of a stroke so that, if you ever acknowledge a stroke or a TIA you can operate fast and stop it in its tracks before it is too delayed.

Stroke and Fibromyalgia

There are three main types of stroke, according to the American Heart Association: Ischemic, Hemorrhagic, and TIA. A study released in February 2016, examined data for over one million patients in Japan to examine if there was any increased risk of stroke among those who had been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

All comorbidities that can enhance risk of stroke the researchers have adjusted them, and after doing so found that there wasn’t a considerable difference in risk for Hemorrhagic stroke, though, the danger for Ischemic stroke was enhanced in the Fibromyalgia group by 25% during the time-frame.

Fascinatingly, the real risk of stroke decreased with age among the Fibromyalgia patients while the frequency of stroke increased with age in both groups. Certain comorbiditiesincreased the risk of stroke across both groups. In the non-Fibromyalgia group diabetes resulted in the maximum risk of stroke, while in the Fibromyalgia group those with hypertension showed the maximum risk of stroke.

Younger patients, defined as younger than 35 years old, had a 2.26-fold higher relative stroke risk than controls. Regardless of reported comorbidities – including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, coronary heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis – fibromyalgia was an independent factor of stroke. Previous hospitalization for fibromyalgia only slightly increased the risk of stroke.

Fibromyalgia and stroke like symptoms

A number of the symptoms of fibromyalgia are similar to the signs of a stroke. Whether the symptoms you are experiencing are more probably related to fibromyalgia or an indication of a stroke, there are some clues that can help you determine the exact condition. Limitation, blindness or impairment of consciousness is the most common symptoms of stroke. Fibromyalgia is predominantly associated with pain and fatigue. However, there is some overlap.

Particularly in younger Fibromyalgia patients fibromyalgia increases the risk of stroke. For those of us with Fibromyalgia we run a greater risk of stroke at a younger age otherwise Stroke risk usually increases with age. IBS and migraine are other comordidities that are also related with greater stroke risk.

What isn’t clear is how much more (or if) our risk increases when we have all of these things. I do speculate if multiples diseases in reality increase the risk more, given that they adjusted for other illnesses that can cause an increase risk. Scary thought. There is usually no definite reason to take medication such as blood thinners to decrease the risk of a stroke in the absence of other strong stroke risk factors like heart disease, high cholesterol, and hypertension.

Your best defense against a stroke is to be well-known with the signs of a stroke and to pay consideration to stroke avoidance, which consists, in large part, of healthy living, if you have fibromyalgia.


Falling objects due impaired synchronization or weakness points out a stroke. Though, extreme pain, which occurs often in fibromyalgia, can make you incapable to grasp or carry objects or even to raise your arm or walk. Weakness of the face, arms or legs can also be caused by fibromyalgia. Characteristically, the weakness of fibromyalgia can be linked to tiredness or fatigue or overdo, whereas the weakness of a stroke is not linked to physical fatigue. Urgent medical attention is essential to determine whether a serious and life-threatening problem, such as a stroke has occurred or not, especially when weakness is sudden or severe

By now you know that you will experience ache if you suffer from fibromyalgia. However, loss of sensation or tingling can occur with fibromyalgia as well. These are also the most ignored signs of stroke, and therefore it is important to establish whether symptoms of sensory loss are, in fact, strokes or TIAs.

Objective elements of the speech and voice of persons who had fibromyalgia was measured in another research. It was found out in the study that fibromyalgia can cause objective speech and voice deficits for some people. One of the features of a stroke is inaudible speech or trouble producing or understanding speech.

Speech changes fibromyalgia are slow and do not obstruct with the understanding of language, whereas the speech impairments typical of stroke are typically unexpected and hinder with verbal communication and understanding.


Endovascular procedure or a mechanical thrombectomy is physical elimination of a large blood clot; it is strongly suggested treatment choice. A wire-cage device called a stent retriever is used by trained doctors to take out a large blood clot in thrombectomy .

Doctors thread a catheter through an artery in the groin up to the blocked artery in the brain to eliminate the clot. It allows the doctors to take out the stent with the trapped clot, when the stent opens and grabs the clot. Particular suction tubes might also be used to eradicate the clot. The process must be done within six hours of beginning of acute stroke symptoms. Under definite conditions for selected patients, the process can be helpful if done even within 24 hours of beginning.

Patients who are suitable for IV alteplase should be given the drug, even if the clot exclusion procedure is considered. Certain criteria to be eligible for this process must be met by patients.


Tips to Improve hearth health with Fibromyalgia

Many reasons are out there which shows the connection between cardiovascular diseases and fibromyalgia. Patients can gain weight due to lack of exercise or inability to exercise due to pain, there is also raised blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation.

It’s very important for you to try your best to make your heart healthy if you are suffering from fibromyalgia to avoid other dangers to your health. Below are some tips to improve your heart health while suffering from fibromyalgia.

  • >>>Try massaging therapy; it is to slow down your heart rate.
  • >>>In order to avoid heart problems, reduce stress.
  • >>>Do as much exercise as you can, but don’t overdo it. Research shows that aquatic exercisesare most effective for fibromyalgia.
  • >>>Go for proper sleep, poor sleep can have a bad impact on your health which can further worsen your heart health.
  • >>>find out about your depression and treat it. Depression is common in fibromyalgia patients, but if you left it untreated, it can have a bad impact on your heart. Studies show that depression increases the risk of heart diseases and heart attack.

If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, than consult your doctor about the risk factors, and make a proper plan to improve your heart health. You can also join our support group for discussion and venting, Click here to join “Living with fibromyalgia and chronic illness”.



  • How does fibromyalgia affects speech problems by Naomi Prex Arba via Fibromyalgia Resources
  • IBS and Fibromyalgia by MG Rana,MD via Fibromyalgia Resources
  • The Difference Between Fibromyalgia and Stroke By Heidi Moawad, MD via Very Well Health
  • Gurbuzler L, Inanir A, Yelken K, Koc S, Eyibilen A, Uysal IO. “Voice disorder in patients with Fibromyalgia” Auris Nasus Larynx. December 2013.
  • Katz RS , Heard AR, Mills M, Leavitt F. “The prevalence and clinical impact of reported cognitive difficulties (fibrofog) in patients with rheumatic disease with and without fibromyalgia.” Journal of Clinical Rheumatology. April 2004.
  • Muto L, Mango P, Sauer J, Yuan S, Sousa A, Marques A. “Postural control and balance self-efficacy in women with fibromyalgia. Are there differences?” European Journal of Physical and Rehabilitative Medicine. April 2014.
  • Watson NF, Buchwald D, Goldberg J, Noonan C, Ellenbogen RG. “Neurologic signs and symptoms in fibromyalgia.” Arthritis Rheumatology. September 2009.
  • Tseng, C. H., Chen, J. H., Wang, Y. C., Lin, M. C., & Kao, C. H. (2016). Increased Risk of Stroke in Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Population-BASED Cohort Study. Medicine, 95(8), e2860.

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