Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fibro Article

Fibromyalgia — An Elusive Illness

Fibromyalgia is a widely misunderstood and sometimes misdiagnosed chronic condition, commonly characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, concentration issues, and sleep problems. According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, it affects an estimated 10 million people, mainly women, in the United States alone. The severity of fibromyalgia symptoms can vary from one person to the next and may fluctuate even in a single individual, depending on such factors as time of day or the weather. Because it is a chronic condition, in most cases fibromyalgia symptoms never disappear entirely. The good news is that fibromyalgia isn't progressive or life-threatening, and treatments can help alleviate many symptoms.

Fibromyalgia: The Symptoms

The symptoms of fibromyalgia and their severity vary widely, although pain and fatigue are nearly always present. Major symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

Pain. Some fibromyalgia patients report discomfort in one or more specific areas of their body, while others may experience overall pain in their muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Certain areas, such as the back of the head, upper back and neck, elbows, hips, and knees may be particularly sensitive to touch or pressure and are described clinically as tender points. The degree and type of pain can range from aching, tenderness, and throbbing to sharper shooting and stabbing sensations. Intense burning, numbness, and tingling may also be present.

Fatigue. If you've ever been knocked off your feet by a bad case of the flu, you have a general idea of how tired some people with fibromyalgia can feel. Though some fibromyalgia patients experience only mild fatigue, many report feeling completely drained of energy, both physically and mentally, to the point that exhaustion interferes with all daily activities.

Memory problems. Difficulty concentrating and remembering are common cognitive symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.

Sleep disturbances. Research has shown that the deepest stages of sleep in patients with fibromyalgia are constantly interrupted by bursts of brain activity, causing feelings of exhaustion even after a seemingly good night's rest. Other problems such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and teeth grinding (bruxism) are also common among fibromyalgia sufferers.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Symptoms of IBS, including diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, and bloating, are present in many people with fibromyalgia.

Other common symptoms

**Headaches, migraines, and facial pain
**Depression, anxiety, or mood changes
**Painful menstrual periods
**Dry mouth, eyes, and skin
**Heightened sensitivity to noise, odors, bright lights, and touch
**Symptom Triggers

The following factors can worsen the symptoms of fibromyalgia:

**Changes in weather (too cold or too humid)
**Too much or too little exercise
**Too much or too little rest
**Stress and anxiety
**Some patients also report that pain and stiffness are worse in the morning.

The rest of the article here.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this Carlee--do you have Fibromyalgia? Not sure if you remember from college, but I do. This article is helpful though--it's always good to read a bit about it. Man, all my symptoms make so much sense when I read an overview like this! Hope all is well:) Just checking out this blog, but I love it:)

Carlee McDot said...

Yeppers. I was 'diagnosed' in 9th grade.