Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is still little known both to the large public and to the medical specialists.
Although it is acknowledged as a “proper” syndrome and although it affects millions of Americans, the studies that have researched its symptoms and causes are still unclear and doctors have not settled yet for a very specific set of them.
However, some things are clearly established and these help making the diagnosis a little easier. Proper information is the key in ameliorating the symptoms of those who suffer from Fibromyalgia, and this article will hopefully help you understand better what this syndrome is and which are the most important things related to it.
Here are the top 8 most important things everyone (not only those suffering from the syndrome) should know:
1- Fibromyalgia is a type of chronic pain
Thus, pain is the most poignant and most important symptom that patients who suffer from this syndrome will feel. If all 4 quadrants of their bodies are affected by pain, if this lasts for more than 3 months and if, by testing 18 pressure points, 11 of them are painful, then the patient becomes a Fibromyalgia patient.
Of course, pain is not the only symptom that patients with this syndrome show, and some other symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, Restless Leg Syndrome and many, many other disorders and syndromes that are associated with Fibromyalgia.
2- Eating right is important both in preventing Fibromyalgia and in ameliorating its symptoms
Yes, healthy eating is not just about losing weight and it can improve many aspects of one’s life, from the general state of being to very specific symptoms shown by various diseases and syndromes. Fibromyalgia patients can be harshly affected by bad eating habits, such as eating foods high in “bad” fats, junk foods that contain a lot of additives, by sweets and by foods and drinks that are high in caffeine. On the other hand, eating fruits, vegetables, fish (the “fatty” kind, such as salmon, for instance) and nuts will improve the way these patients feel in general (including the level of pain they feel in their bodies).
3- The diagnosis process may take longer than in other cases
Yes, there is a set of examinations and a set of inquiries doctors will make in order to diagnose Fibromyalgia. Sadly though, most of the symptoms shown by patients suffering from this syndrome can overlap with other diseases and disorders, so clearly establishing the diagnosis may not be a short process. Sometimes, certain diseases can be completely mistaken with Fibromyalgia and sometimes they can even overlap with this syndrome (and this includes diseases such as Arthritis, Lyme and many other health conditions).
4- There is no clear medical category in which Fibromyalgia can be placed
On the one hand, it has been long thought to be a mental disorder (sometimes mistaken with hypochondria), but this may not be the case under the recent studies that have been made in this field. On the other hand, most of the specialists nowadays agree that Fibromyalgia is a real disease and that the pain felt by patients is as real as pain can get.
Basically, most of them agree that Fibromyalgia is caused by certain unbalances that appear at the level of the neuro-chemical processes in the human brain, which, in their turn, lead to a bad processing of the pain sensation in the brain. What leads to these unbalances though, is still a mystery.
5- Stress is an important risk factor when it comes to Fibromyalgia
Nowadays’ people live in the era of fast speed and they are forced to move as fast as the technology around them. This leads to increased levels of stress in an increased number of people out there. What some of them may not know though is the fact that stress is not just affecting their state of mind, but that it can be an amazingly important factor into the development of certain medical conditions.
Diabetes, for example, has been related to high levels of stress and so has Fibromyalgia (especially since stress can and will lead to neuro-chemical abnormalities in the brain). Under these circumstances, relaxation becomes more important than ever and you should make sure that you get enough of it, especially if you have a stressful job.
6- Natural remedies can be of an excellent help
Very often, people tend to raise their eyebrows in dismissal when it comes to alternative medicine. However, it has been proved that these methods can help one feel better and that in the case of those who suffer from medical conditions such as Fibromyalgia, they can help relieve stress and pain. Among these natural remedies, acupuncture, yoga and meditation play an important part as adjutants in ameliorating the symptoms of this syndrome.
7- Stomach issues can be a red flag for Fibromyalgia
As mentioned before, nutrition is essential to a general good health. Stomach issues may or may not be related to bad nutrition, but most of the patients with Fibromyalgia show signs of stomach upset in addition to other symptoms of feeling fatigue and low-energized. A thorough analysis is required though in order to tell whether these stomach-related problems are or not related to the fact that the patient may suffer from Fibromyalgia.
8- Bad fitness condition can also be a risk factor in the case of this syndrome
Everybody knows that exercising helps people look better and feel better (especially when it comes to the condition of the heart). But some people may not see any relationship between proper exercise and Fibromyalgia. Truth is that, although extensive exercise is not recommended for patients with this syndrome, a little bit of it will bring them great benefits. The key lies in not overdoing it and in choosing something that is relaxing, healthy and easy to do at the same time (such as a few minutes of walking every day).