FM resembles a number of rheumatic disorders that are known as autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus. These diseases occur when a defective immune system produces factors known as autoantibodies, which attack proteins in the body’s own tissue, mistaking them as antigens (foreign proteins). Recently, researchers have identified certain autoantibodies in many FM patients that affect neurologic and hormonal systems. There is no strong evidence, however, that a faulty immune system is a primary cause of FM.

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