According to statistics, about 10 million Americans are living with fibromyalgia today. While it can affect kids, the condition is more common in adult women. It is quite challenging to diagnose since there are no specific tests for it, and the symptoms are quite similar to several other conditions. But what is this condition, and how serious is it?
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that causes widespread pain all over the body, sleep issues, fatigue, and mental distress. While it may not typically be life-threatening, it affects daily activities.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition that can cause general widespread pain. It can cause fatigue, sleep problems, and emotional and mental stress. People afflicted with this condition are more sensitive to pain. This is why it is often referred to as an abnormal pain perception processing. The cause and cure for the condition are still unknown, but doctors have already determined how to manage fibromyalgia effectively.
When an individual gets injured, pain signals travel from the site of the injury to the brain via the spinal cord. As the wound heals, the pain signals also get better and, in time, goes away. This is not the same for people with fibromyalgia. A person with the condition will constantly feel pain even if they are not sick or injured. (Source: CDC)
Some doctors hypothesized that people with the disease might have more cells that carry pain signals and that the condition may be caused by a glitch in how your brain and spinal cord handle pain signals.
Fibromyalgia is diagnosed with the help of the patient’s medical history, tests like X-rays and blood works, and physical examination. Studies showed that it could affect people of any age, but it is more common with middle-aged women. People with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are most likely to develop the disease. (Source: Web MD)
Other possible factors have been associated with fibromyalgia:
- Women are twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia.
- People involved in traumatic accidents.
- People who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
- People who experience repetitive injuries on specific body parts.
- Viral infections.
Complications of fibromyalgia often include more trips to the hospital and poor quality of life. Several reports state that patients feel depressed because of the condition. (Source: CDC)
Is Fibromyalgia A Real Condition?
One of the misconceptions associated with fibromyalgia is that it is not a genuine medical concern. Pain is often subjective and difficult to measure. And people with the condition perceive and process the feeling of pain differently. Most people who do not understand would tend to think that it’s all in the patient’s head.
It is often difficult for people who don’t understand fibromyalgia to imagine how it affects patients, especially when they look absolutely healthy and normal even though they are experiencing extreme pain. Many patients try to bear the pain and continue with their regular routines, but there are times when the pain flares up, and they simply can’t continue their tasks. (Source: Medical News Today)
How is Fibromyalgia Managed?
Though there are no specific cures for the debilitating medical condition, physicians address the condition’s symptoms and prescribe medication such as duloxetine, milnacipran, pregabalin, and other over-the-counter pain relievers. (Source: Health Line)