Lines are open Mon-Fri 08:00 - 18:00
It's Fibromyalgia Awareness Week from 6th to 13th September. What's it about? The clue is in the title. A quick poll around my house yielded no takers on the subject of fibromyalgia, other than a question on whether it was related to constipation. I think the 'fibre' part misled him.
Many claim fibro is not a real illness - that's people who don't suffer with it, of course.
It's an illness that causes pain and fatigue. That sounds pretty simple, but fibro isn't a simple condition. It ranges wildly from mild tiredness to a severity so extreme that the sufferer can't hold down a job or maintain a quality of life. Some describe it as the 'tired' you get after flu - but it's every day without the hope of getting better.
Here are a few of the most common symptoms:
Diagnosis is difficult because there is no laboratory test to say whether or not you have it. Instead diagnosis is dependent on a range of symptoms. To be classed as suffering from fibromyalgia you need to have all other illnesses dismissed along with these problems:
It's a difficult one because no one knows yet. Some experts think it's a lack of restorative sleep, but some research has shown sufferers may have a deficiency of serotonin in the central nervous system, plus an increase in a substance that transmits pain signals.
Fibro affects seven times more women than men and sometimes appears after a traumatic event such as losing a loved one, childbirth, or an accident. Both physical and mental trauma can trigger it.
More research is needed and hopefully in the not too distant future we'll know more about this condition. Sufferers will then be able to shove it somewhere the non-believing numpties hold dear.
It's hard to treat an illness when you don't really know the cause, so it's a case of managing the symptoms.
Just because we don't know exactly what fibromyalgia is doesn't mean we can suggest it doesn't exist. Besides, my copy of Word knows how fibromyalgia is spelt, so it must be real.