If you’re like me, you’re always trying to stay apprised of new information surrounding your illness(es). Sometimes, it seems like I never see anything new and oftentimes, it seems the data I read is just somehow recycled; one site to another. So I spent some time (okay, a lot of time) gathering facts that, maybe, are not quite as well known about Fibromyalgia. I have to say, there is not a plethora of studies out there. While I can certainly appreciate why millions upon millions of dollars are spent on cancer research, how many lives could be vastly improved with better understanding and more (or even just one!!) viable treatment option for Fibro?
So, without further adieu, did you know these 22 facts about Fibro???
- Fibromyalgia is a disease of the Central Nervous System, characterized in part, by abnormalities in pain processing.1 (it’s NOT Autoimmune, Rheumatological OR Psychosomatic)
- In a 2018 Harvard study, PET Scans of patients with Fibromyalgia showed widespread inflammation in their brains; more specifically, in the immune cells of the brain (once and for all debunking the myth that Fibro is a Psychological disease). 2
- The average time of morning stiffness for a Fibro patient is 75 minutes.
- Descriptions of Fibro in medical literature date as far back as the early 17th century. There are even descriptions in the Bible’s book of Job.
- On average, it takes a typical Fibro patient 5 years and 15 Providers to reach a diagnosis.
- Over 50% of patients are originally misdiagnosed.
- 93% of patients had worked *throughout their entire life* (prior to becoming ill).
- 44% of patients are fairly or totally dependent on a family member for household chores.
- 42% of patients are not in the workforce.
- 84% of patients report suffering from more than one condition or disease, with 28% of FM patients also diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
- 45% of patients feel that their family does not understand the disease.
- 67% of patients report many sexual difficulties as a result of the disease.
- 3% to 6% of the world’s population, or more than 200 to 400 million people worldwide, have this chronic condition. It crosses all nationalities and races and both sexes.
- There is an average of one workday missed each week, for those who are employed, with an average of 10% earnings loss.
- In people who have fibromyalgia, the brain and spinal cord process pain signals differently. As a result, they react more strongly to touch and pressure, with a heightened sensitivity to pain.
- The suicide risk among fibromyalgia patients is *ten times* that of the general population. However, *none* of the Fibromyalgia patients who did commit suicide had a medical history of depression or other psychiatric illness at the time of diagnosis.
- Many people who went to Mayo Clinic’s Fibromyalgia Clinic are perfectionists who have very high expectations for themselves.
- 74% of responders reported spending between $100 and $500 each month on over-the-counter products.
- 61% spent between $100 and $500 each month on prescription medications.
- Interventions with the highest effectiveness ratings were: prescription sleep medications, prescription pain medications, rest, heat and prescription antidepressants. Although non-prescription pain medications and nutritional supplements were commonly used, they **did not** appear to be particularly effective.
- In one study of 2,569 respondents, the medications perceived to be the most effective (out of 253 listed) were: Hydrocodone, Alprazolam (Xanax), Oxycodone, Zolpidem (Ambien), Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) and Clonazepam (Klonopin). (So much for Opiods not being effective!)
- 34% of fibromyalgia patients spend between $100- $1,000 per month *above* their insurance to see a healthcare professional.
I hope that I have provided you with some statistics that maybe you did not know before now. The more we talk, the more we call attention to it, the more and harder we fight, the better we may be heard.
ps While I am not including the bibliography in my post, I do feel it important to be transparent and to be able to back what I write with factual data. Please reach out to me if you would like to receive the bibliography.