Senior Living Care Blog

What is Fibromyalgia?

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Feb 26, 2019 11:00:00 AM

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, fibromyalgia affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States and about 3 to 6 percent of the world population. The condition most prominently affects women, about 75 to 90 percent of the people who are dealing with fibromyalgia are women. The diagnosis for the problem is normally made between the ages for 20 and 50, however, the incidence rises with age. In fact, about 8 percent of adults age 80 and older meet the definition for fibromyalgia.


There are many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, including pain throughout the body, fatigue, depression, and more. While the main causes for the condition are largely unknown, there are a number of risk factors associated with the disorder including age, family history, and gender. Despite the prevalence of the problem, there are a variety of treatment options for someone dealing with the condition.



What is Fibromyalgia?

An older individual hunching over while holding their lower back

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all throughout the body. The pain can occur in the skin, muscles, and even the joints. It also leads to sleep problems, fatigue, and mental or emotional distress. Fibromyalgia can lead to to a number of complications. For instance, fibromyalgia normally leads to more hospitalizations, lower quality of lives, high rates of depression, higher rates of suicide, and more.


With all that said, it is important to note that fibromyalgia isn’t exactly a dangerous condition as it doesn’t affect people’s organs or life expectancy. Despite the fact that there is a higher rate of suicide and injuries among fibromyalgia patients, the overall mortality rate among adults with the condition and the general population is similar. But, it is still a serious condition that needs to be dealt with. And, while the cause of fibromyalgia is not known, however, the condition can be effectively treated and managed.



There are a variety of symptoms associated with fibromyalgia but each case is different from one another and the specific symptoms and severity of the problem can vary. But, some common symptoms include:

  • Pain and stiffness in the body
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems
  • Migraines
  • Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
  • Pain in the face or jaw


Risk Factors

As mentioned before, there is not a known cause for the condition, but there are a number of factors that can influence your risk of dealing with the problem. Three of the largest risk factors seem to be age, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and gender.


While fibromyalgia can affect all people, including children, the condition is known to be more common for diagnosis to occur during middle and later years in life.


For individuals who are affected by arthritis or lupus, there is a common overlap with fibromyalgia. It is also possible for infections to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.


As mentioned earlier, gender is a big factor when it comes to fibromyalgia, as a majority of people dealing with fibromyalgia are women.


Other factors include:

  • Stress and PTSD
  • Repetitive injuries
  • Illness
  • Family History
  • Obesity



Treating Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is normally diagnosed by looking at a combination of the patient’s history, a physical examination, X-rays, and blood work. Luckily for people who are affected by fibromyalgia, there are ways to effectively treat and manage.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that should be treated by a doctor or team of healthcare professionals. Fibromyalgia is a condition that is generally managed with a combination of treatments. For example, medication, exercise classes, cognitive behavioral therapy, patient education classes, stress management classes, and more.


Mayo Clinic also recommends that talking to a counselor can help to strengthen your belief in your abilities and help you learn how to deal with stressful situations.


As mentioned before, fibromyalgia leads to reduced quality of life. However, there are ways that that can help not only your fibromyalgia. For example, getting physically active can go a long way to not only help with physical and mental health, but can also improve overall quality of life.


It should also be noted that there are many over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, and Motrin. However, narcotics are not advised as they can lead to dependence and may even worsen the pain over time.


Lifestyle Changes

Along with medical attention, there are a number of self-care methods and lifestyle changes that you can make to help manage fibromyalgia.


Again, exercising regularly can help you. At first it may increase your pain, but gradually it can help to decrease your symptoms. Some exercises that can help with fibromyalgia include walking, swimming, biking, and water aerobics. However, it should be noted that you do not want to overexert yourself. Work your way up to longer and harder workouts, start off easier.


Getting enough sleep is also important for people of all ages, regardless of what health conditions they are dealing with. Along with getting enough sleep during the nighttime, practicing good sleep habits like going to bed and getting up at the same time each day, as well as limiting napping is important for a healthy sleep lifestyle.



In Conclusion

Overall, fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain in the muscles, bones, and joints. The problem can also cause issues with fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood changes. There are no main causes to the condition, but there are many risk factors that increase the likelihood of dealing with the disorder. Along with professional medical care, there are a number of self-care methods that can help to manage the pain of fibromyalgia, for example, exercise and getting good sleep can be helpful for dealing with symptoms associated with the disorder.


At Landmark Senior Living, we have can provide our residents with the medical attention that they deserve. Similarly, we also allow our members to attend and participate in social activities that our staff helps to organize. At Landmark we can help you or your loved one have an easy going and fun time during this later chapter of their life. If you would like more information about our assisted living facilities, please reach out to our admissions staff today.



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Topics: Senior Health

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