If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, you might feel sometimes like you’re completely alone. You might feel like no one seems to understand or even know about your condition. And if you haven’t found a good support group or internet community to belong to, you might feel like there aren’t even that many people who could possibly recognize what you’re going through.
But is that true? Are people with fibromyalgia really so alone? How many people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, really? To answer that, let’s look at some of the statistics and talk about how important community is to dealing with fibromyalgia.
How Many People Are Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia?
It often seems like fibromyalgia is an uncommon condition. I mean, how many times have you told that you have fibromyalgia and just gotten that confused look in return? But it might surprise you to learn just how many people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia around the world.
Here’s a fun little experiment to try: off the top of your head, guess how many people around the world have fibromyalgia?
A million? Two?
Well according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, as many as four hundred million people have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That’s around 5% of the world’s population. It’s more than the population of the United States.
Imagine if everyone in the US had fibromyalgia. Then imagine everyone in Germany also had it. And that’s roughly how many people have fibromyalgia around the world. That’s a lot of people with fibromyalgia, right? So why does it seem like having fibromyalgia makes you feel so alone?
Community And Fibromyalgia
With a disease like fibromyalgia that can basically make you feel like you’re trapped in your own body, it’s important to maintain supportive relationships as much as possible. Fibromyalgia can take everything from you, including your friends. And that lack of support makes dealing with the condition even harder.
Humans are social animals and don’t do well when isolated. In fact, people with close relationships live longer than those who don’t, even when they aren’t sick.
Everyone has the tendency to drift away from friends and relatives. That’s a natural part of life. People grow apart over time. But with fibromyalgia, you need to hold on to every good friend you have, because your constant pain will make it harder than usual to maintain those relationships.
In addition, seeking out friends who understand your condition is one of the best things you can do to manage it. In the old days, people with fibromyalgia had a much harder time getting a supportive network of sufferers for a few reasons.
First, it’s an invisible disease. You would never know if the person walking down the street next to you had fibromyalgia. This is still true today, of course. And that’s part of the reason fibromyalgia seems rare when so many people have it. But these days, there is a lot more openness about the condition and the fibromyalgia community is larger and spreading awareness constantly.
That’s part of the second reason it used to be harder for people with fibromyalgia to get support. Most people simply didn’t know that fibromyalgia existed. Even most doctors had never heard of it. It’s still hard to get a diagnosis today, but it’s much better than it used to be. So the total number of fibromyalgia patients probably hasn’t gone up, but more people know what they have. And that makes finding a support network easier.
The final, and biggest, reason that it’s easier to find a fibromyalgia community today is the internet. You no longer have to rely on a support community that is made up only of people who live near you. You can share stories and tips with fellow fibro warriors across the globe. Sites like this one help spread awareness and information. And the comments section on every article provides a great place to share advice or even just find a shoulder to lean on.
Fighting Together Against Fibromyalgia
That’s one of the few good things to come out of fibromyalgia. Great friendships have been borne between two sufferers who would never have met if not for their condition and the internet. That’s remarkable, and it’s so important when you’re dealing with fibromyalgia to create those kinds of relationships and work to together to spread awareness of fibromyalgia.
And you can help right now, as a matter of fact. Share your stories and tips with us in the comments. Take the time to offer other fibro warriors the support they need. Use the power of social media to get the word out about this condition. You never know what kind of friends you might make. And the best way to fight back against fibromyalgia is to make people aware of it.
So, how many people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Hundreds of millions. And it’s time to use that fact to fight back against the disease. It’s time to come together.
Share your stories, your hopes, your fears. Let everyone know what living with fibromyalgia is like. Use this opportunity to share information with your friends who are lucky enough to not have fibromyalgia. Ask them to help you do something about it, like funding vital research. And let everyone suffering from it know they have a friend in you.