According to the CDC, Fibromyalgia affects approximately 4 million Americans, or around 2% of the entire adult population in the country. It is a chronic illness that affects your friends, your neighbors, your family, and possibly even yourself. Although it is a condition that has some visibility, the full scope of what it is actually like to live with Fibromyalgia on a daily basis is not necessarily communicated through the media. Information and knowledge is important to understanding chronic conditions; here’s what you need to know about Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that is characterized by one overarching symptom: frequent pain and stiffness all over the body. However, this pain causes other related symptoms, which include:
Fibromyalgia can also lead to further complications, including jaw disorders causing pain in the face and jaw (known as Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
There is not a definitive cause for Fibromyalgia, which makes it a sometimes difficult condition to diagnose; in fact, symptoms mimic those of other conditions, which causes fibromyalgia to be often misdiagnosed as a different condition–although this has improved as Fibromyalgia awareness has grown in recent years. For a period, some health care providers even questioned the existence of the condition at all, a sentiment that has thankfully largely disappeared as researchers and health care providers have learned more about the condition.
Although there is no definitive cause, according to The Mayo Clinic there are a few factors that can be connected to the development of Fibromyalgia. These factors include:
Fibromyalgia can affect anyone of any age, although there are particular groups who are more at risk to develop the condition:
Treatment can be multidimensional, and should always be strategized between a doctor and patient. Some common treatments that doctors deploy, are:
If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing Fibromyalgia, it’s important to contact a doctor immediately to receive a professional diagnosis, and begin working on a care strategy.