Although you may not be aware of it, most everyone knows someone who suffers with fibromyalgia. People with fibromyalgia generally don't go around shouting about their condition from the rooftops. It's not fashionable or fun, and it hurts like the devil! And there are approximately 5 million of them in America today... about 90% of them are women!
Unfortunately, if you don't have the symptoms of fibromyalgia... and you are very fortunate if you don't... it's really hard to relate to someone who has all the weird and seemingly disconnected conditions that come with the illness. And some of the weirdest symptoms can have the most devastating effect on a fibromyalgia sufferer's life... mostly because they go unrecognized as symptoms and are often not addressed or treated.
Fibromyalgia patients, who are under the care of a rheumatologist, are provided with medications to manage their symptoms. That's one way the common symptoms of fibromyalgia, like the pain, can be kept under control. However, it's not unusual for individuals with the illness to keep quiet about their condition or even lie to their family, friends, co-workers, and bosses ... to avoid appearing as "weak" or "a chronic complainer". As a fibromyalgia "victim" myself, I can tell you that I kept my mouth shut, especially at work, so that I wouldn't lose opportunities on my job. I just worked through the pain and misery.
People who understand the syndrome are aware of the fatigue and severe pain that are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia. These are usually theindicators used by doctors when diagnosing the illness. But, what is not commonly known, is that many fibromyalgia sufferers:
1) Have difficulty focusing, unexplained vision changes, and visual blind spots
2) Frequently have gastrointestinal issues including abdominal cramping, bloating, reflux, intestinal gas, frequent constipation and/or diarrhea, and even nausea and vomiting
3) Are hypersensitive to odors, bright lights, and loud noises; have alcohol intolerance; and sensitivities to various medications and foods
4) Have vivid or disturbing dreams and nightmares, sleep difficulties including inability to stay asleep; or even hypersomnia --- which is excessive sleeping
5) Appear to be clumsy --- walking and accidentally bumping into things, knocking things over; have trouble judging distances --- like when reaching for things or driving a car; have occasional balance difficulties, and may experience vertigo/dizziness
6) Have difficulty finding the right words to express themselves and remembering names or recognizing faces; have difficulty following directions, and frequently lose their train of thought; are easily distracted and may have long and/or short-term memory loss
Can you imagine waking up one morning and not being able to remember your boss' last name... or your best friend's phone number?... Or has this already happened to you?
These are examples of only a few of the weird and seemingly unrelated symptoms of fibromyalgia, and sufferers and their doctors will tell you... every case is different. Some individuals have severe gastrointestinal problems and trouble sleeping as their primary complaints along with the common symptoms of pain and fatigue, while others can't tolerate strong smells and may have vision problems and difficulty focusing. In all cases, fibromyalgia sufferers have multiple symptoms, some of which may never have been recognized as part of their fibromyalgia condition.
So... Is There Any Treatment That Can Help Me With All My Weird Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
The simple answer is "yes!" Improving your overall health is the key! Many of the symptoms accompanying fibromyalgia's pain and fatigue, like overall weakness, headaches and migraines, gastrointestinal distress, sleep issues, and even depression, can be reduced or eliminated by improving your diet! Begin with a heart-smart diet with low sugar, low fat... and add fruits, vegetables and whole grain. Avoid drinking a lot of caffeinated beverages. Maintain a healthy weight and avoid allergy-causing foods. And... include an adequate supply of lean, digestible protein to repair the body at the cellular level. It's widely accepted that a good diet complete with vitamins, minerals and amino acids --- protein's building blocks which support the muscles, nerves and brain, may help you to take control the symptoms of fibromyalgia... and your life.
By Carol Ryland