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TWENTY TWO MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA…

With May being Fibromyalgia Awareness Month and May 12th Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, I thought a post on the myths and facts about Fibromyalgia might interest my readers.

SOME MYTHS ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA…

1.Fibromyalgia is all in your head – this myth has been around since the first diagnosis of Fibromyalgia and unfortunately can still prevent some sufferers being diagnosed with the condition but it is definitely not all in your head. The pain is absolutely real.

2. Fibromyalgia is a type of depression – just because you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia it does not mean that you will definitely have depression. Some people do suffer from it when they have the condition but some people do not.

3. Fibromyalgia only affects women – Fibromyalgia affects both women and men, it just seems to be a higher percentage of women that if affects.

4.Fibromyalgia and Arthritis are the same condition – these two conditions and quite different with some similarities. Unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia does not primarily affect joints. It affects muscles and soft tissue.

5. You must have a certain amount of tender points to have Fibromyalgia – tender points are just some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia but there are also other common symptoms of fibromyalgia like sleep problems, tiredness, or brain fog.

6. There is no treatment for Fibromyalgia – on the contrary there are a number of treatments for Fibromyalgia which include medications, some complimentary therapies as well as pacing techniques.

7. You should avoid exercise – like many muscular conditions it can be quite difficult to exercise but avoiding is can cause more harm than good. It is essential that you find the right sort of exercise for you to manage even if that is only a simple walk every day but exercises must not be avoided. In fact Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to be helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. This includes activities like walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics.

8. You have ME – just because you feel very tired does not mean you have ME. Fatigue is a symptom of Fibromyalgia which is interwoven with other symptoms — including pain, sleep disruption, and mood disturbances — and all of these symptoms can influence one another.

9. The condition is caused by damage to muscles or joints. The condition is not caused by damage to muscles and joints.

10. Fibromyalgia will shorten your life expectancy. Fibromyalgia will not shorten your life expectancy.

SOME FACTS ABOUT FIBROMYALGIA..

1. In the past, it has been called ‘Rheumatism’ and ‘Fibrositis’.

2. It is now firmly established that a central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction is primarily responsible for the increased pain and sensitivity of Fibromyalgia.

3. The tendency to develop Fibromyalgia Syndrome may be inherited. Many mothers with Fibromyalgia have children with it as well.

4. It is the central nervous system that is disturbed.

5. You cannot have Fibromyalgia only in your back or in your hands. You either have it all over or you don’t have it at all.

6. Fibromyalgia is not a diagnosis of exclusivity. You may have co-existing conditions, such as MS, arthritis, and/or myofascial pain, and still, have Fibromyalgia pain.

7. It is not a disease but a syndrome, which means a specific set of signs and symptoms that occur together. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and many other serious conditions are also classified as syndromes.

8. Fibromyalgia is not the same as chronic myofascial pain, there is no such a thing as a Fibromyalgia trigger point. Trigger points are part of myofascial pain and not Fibromyalgia.

9. Fibromyalgia is not the same as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.

10. Fibromyalgia is not just widespread pain or achy muscles.

11. Fibromyalgia is not an autoimmune condition.

12. Fibromyalgia can often be triggered off by an event that activates biochemical changes, causing a cascade of symptoms.

Always remember to seek medical help from your GP if you feel you have any of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia.

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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LETS TALK ABOUT CAUSES OF SLEEP DYSFUNCTION AND CHRONIC FATIGUE…

Sleep dysfunction and chronic fatigue is common in many disorders including Fibromyalgia, ME?CFS, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, Stroke, Arthritis and mental illness. But there are also some other reasons for sleep problems and chronic fatigue.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, over 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder and another 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

Some other ‘reasons’ you may feel tired all the time include a sinus infection as it causes a strain on the immune system, and can trigger fatigue that can last for weeks or months.

Dehydration is another energy drainer. Even mild dehydration makes it difficult for your brain cells to communicate properly, which can then leave you feeling exhausted and tired.

Being low in iron is another reason for fatigue. Iron is essential for building muscles, repairing damaged tissues and producing cellular energy. A simple blood test can tell you if you are suffering from low iron stores and can be easily remedied.

Stress, feeling depressed, anxious, and irritable are other reasons that can leave you feeling awful and tired. Vitamin B12 deficiency is another problem that could leave you feeling tired and studies have sown that 40% of women could be deficient.

Mould can be another trigger for feeling exhausted as it is extremely draining to your body.

Some more sleep statistics from Sleep Care – Insomnia is a common sleep problem among adults with 30% of people suffering from disturbed sleep while another 10% showing signs of severe insomnia. Sleep Foundation.

50-80% of patients with psychiatric conditions suffer from chronic sleep problems compared to 10-18% of the general population. Harvard Health Publishing

Almost 25% of people experience acute insomnia every year, but only 75% of them recover without developing chronic insomnia or persistent sleep issues. Science Daily

About 40% of the population in the US is sleep deprived. Gallup

Sleep deprivation can cause an annual loss of 11 days of productivity per person. The Washington Post

The list just goes on and on and taking sleeping pills is not the answer as these can actually become addictive and dangerous. The first step should always be to go and see your GP for some blood tests and to rule out other reasons for your fatigue.