On May 12, 2009 millions of people worldwide will observe Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Led by the National Fibromyalgia Association, the theme for this year’s campaign is “Fibromyalgia Affects Everyone” and focuses on the far-reaching effects of this common, chronic pain disorder—from broken lives to the economic costs for patients and society.
An estimated 10 million men, women and children in the United States suffer from fibromyalgia (up to 80% are women), which is characterized by chronic widespread pain, multiple tender points, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
Fibromyalgia most commonly hits between the ages of 20-40 years old, at the “prime of life.”
It has been nick-named “the pain disease” because of the characteristic wide-spread, migrating body pain patients have. The pain has been described differently by each patient from dull aches to deep bone pain to burning, tearing, singeing, stabbing or shooting. The breadth of pain descriptions is what makes diagnosis difficult.
Fibromyalgia is considered as functionally disabling as rheumatoid arthritis but is much less accepted and recognized by both the medical establishment, Social Security and the community at large.
For those with severe symptoms, fibromyalgia can be extremely debilitating and interfere with basic daily activities.
People with Fibromyalgia have cognitive difficulties, such as memory problems and attention issues, that has been nicknamed “Fibro fog” or “brain fog.”
Total healthcare costs over 12 months are about three times higher among fibromyalgia patients compared to patients without the disorder.
Fibromyalgia costs the U.S. between $12-$14 billion each year
Fibromyalgia Awareness Day provides an opportunity to educate people in local communities about this life-altering disorder—and to bring hope to the millions of people who suffer from it.