Is It Life or Fibromyalgia?

Almost everyone experiences occasional aches, pains, and fatigue. But if such symptoms increase in frequency or severity, or are accompanied by other indicators, they could point to a chronic illness such as fibromyalgia.

One way to increase your awareness about fibromyalgia is, of course, to learn the symptoms. However, many are common with other disorders, including liver disease, Lyme disease, lupus, and irritable bowel syndrome, so it can often be misdiagnosed.

Fibromyalgia’s primary symptom is profound, chronic, widespread pain. The National Fibromyalgia Association lists these criteria for a diagnosis of the debilitating illness:

Widespread pain in all areas of the body for 3 months or longer

Tenderness or pain in 11 or more of 18 identified “tender points” when pressure is applied.

People with fibromyalgia may also experience sleep problems, headaches and migraines, impaired memory and concentration, skin sensitivities and rashes, anxiety and depression, dizziness, and several other symptoms. If you experience increased or chronic muscle pain, especially in conjunction with overwhelming fatigue or other health problems, call your doctor and take the first step to getting the right diagnosis — and treatment.

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