Sunday, 27 November 2016

Acknowledging Fibromyalgia

Have you ever come across a woman with chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure who also complains of stiffness, numbness, fatigue, headaches and sleep disorders? Did she also moan that she had multiple visits to her local doctors with negative tests and no cure from over the counter pain killers? You probably did.
There are chances that woman is suffering from Fibromyalgia. Never heard about fibromyalgia? This condition affects about 3 to 5% of the general population. It is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way pain signals are processed in your brain.
Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma or accident, surgery, child birth, death of a loved one, divorce or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many women who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, anxiety and depression. These women are unable to fulfill the physical, social, and emotional needs of others in the household. Due to lack of awareness about fibromyalgia these women are often misunderstood and people think they are being lazy and making up excuses to avoid responsibilities. Their symptoms may be affecting their marriage which leads to more stress and depression which inturn increases their symptoms. It’s like a vicious cycle.
People with fibromyalgia who are involved in fairly vigorous manual occupations often need to modify their work environment and may need to switch to a completely different job. A survey comparing people with fibromyalgia to individuals being treated for other conditions found that 47% of those with fibromyalgia had lost a job because of the disease, compared with only 14% of people losing a job for another health problem. In another survey, people with fibromyalgia lost three times as many workdays as compared to healthy workers.
Fibromyalgia can be emotionally devastating. Imagine being around people who don’t understand what you are going through, who thinks you are just making up stories about your pain to avoid work and being told that its all in your head. Add this stress on to the stress of being ill and the situation becomes almost impossible to bear. Emotional support from loved ones is essential for the person suffering from Fibromyalgia. It will not cure it but lack of support will make matters worse.
So do you have anyone suffering from fibromyalgia? Do you want to help them? What’s the first step towards it? Acknowledging Fibromyalgia. Accepting that your mother, wife, daughter or sister doesn’t have these symptoms in her head she is really suffering. Lets make an oath that from today onwards not only will we support and show understanding to the people around us with fibromyalgia, we will also raise awareness about it.
Written By 
Dr. Rabbiya Aamir
Medical Practitioner &
Volunteer with Deltawomen.

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