According to the NFA (National Fibromyalgia Association), Fibromyalgia affects an estimated 10 million US adults, and about 3-6% of the world population. 75-90% of those affected are women. The cause of Fibromyalgia is not currently known.
So what the heck is Fibromyalgia anyway? Such a great question! The CDC explains it this way, “Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body, sleep problems, fatigue and emotional distress.” Some of the symptoms include: (Can vary from person to person)
- Pain and stiffness all over the body
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Sleep issues
- Cognitive issues (Brain fog, problems thinking)
- Memory loss
- Headaches, including migraines
- Inflamed or burning sensation
- Chest pain*
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
- Digestive issues (IBS)
I want to say something about the chest pain listed above. With Fibromyalgia you may experience pain in your chest that is very scary because it can mimic a heart attack. I experienced this myself and had to wear a heart monitor for a while to make sure it wasn’t something more serious going on with my heart. (See picture below)
In addition to Lyme Disease, I also have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. My Lyme Specialist has been trying to determine if I had Fibromyalgia prior to getting Lyme Disease. The pain is constant, and I’ve just learned to live with it. Some days are better than others. Many people feel like Fibromyalgia is the “catch all” diagnosis because there isn’t currently a single test to diagnose. Thus the title of this post- “It Might Be Fibromyalgia”! It can be hard to diagnose (just like Lyme Disease) because the symptoms can mimic other chronic conditions, such as MS. For this reason, there’s the attitude that everyone is being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia because the doctor is having a hard time diagnosing a patient’s symptoms. For instance, according to WebMD, a person with Lyme Disease, arthritis or sleep apnea-all conditions that can mimic Fibromyalgia-and also have Fibromyalgia as a secondary condition. Currently, I would fall into this category, unless they can prove out that I did in fact have Fibromyalgia prior to contracting Lyme. For me, Fibromyalgia mostly shows up as widespread body pain that does not go away (although I can identify with each of the symptoms listed above). It’s managed by medication, but it’s something I live with daily. It also shows up as cognitive issues and migraine headaches. I get quite a few migraines each month, but I continue to push through! #imstrongerthanithought!
There’s a great chance you may know someone who is living with Fibromyalgia and like Lyme Disease, it can be hard to diagnose and there is no known cure. If you know someone who thinks they may have Fibromyalgia, please let me know, I can point them in the right direction and share some resources.
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Below is a picture of me wearing the heart monitor. I had to record each time my heart skipped a beat and all palpitations. So thankful my heart is ok!
Until next time!