Health Advice: Fibromyalgia, AIDS and Dental Health and a Safe Prenatal Test

The To Your Health column covers health topics on fibromyalgia, AIDS and dental health and a safe prenatal test.

| September/October 1988

The To Your Health column covers health advice topics on new medical discoveries including fibromyalgia, a dental study reveals why AIDS is not transmitted orally, correcting baby bites and a safe prenatal test. 

Health Advice: Fibromyalgia, AIDS and Dental Health and a Safe Prenatal Test

When it concerns the fitness of body, mind or spirit, the editors of American Health are there, staying on top of up-to-date medical research, separating fad from fact and helping you preserve and improve life's most precious gift—your good health.  

The "Great Masquerader"

Sore muscles? It might not be from too much exercise. You may be one of the 3 to 6 million Americans with a rheumatic condition called fibromyalgia or fibrositis that causes musculoskeletal aching, pain and stiffness (sites may shift) and fatigue. This soft-tissue disorder, sometimes dubbed the "great masquerader," doesn't show up on lab tests or x-rays, so the diagnosis is often made only after eliminating such possibilities as rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, polymyositis (a degenerative muscle disease), lupus erythematosus (a connective tissue disorder), or even such suspects as pinched nerves, bursitis, tendonitis and tennis elbow.

Fibromyalgia afflicts five times as many women as men, mainly between the ages of 25 and 55. Although the cause is unknown, the symptoms can, it seems, be brought on by acute emotional stress, viral infections, masked depression, anxiety or even a car accident. The aches may disappear within a few weeks, become chronic or recur at intervals.

Though some victims of this disease have been told to quit exercising, experts have found that a well-designed, moderate exercise program may strengthen muscles and relieve depression. (If you suspect you have fibromyalgia, consult a rheumatologist.)

Saliva Against AIDS

Though it has long been suspected that AIDS is not transmitted orally, a National Institute of Dental Research (NIDR) study is the first to show why: A protective factor comes from the salivary glands. NIDR research found that saliva is 100% effective in preventing infection of lymphocytes, the immune system cells the AIDS virus attacks—though it's not known what the protective factor is or how it works.

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