Fibromyalgia Guide Part 1: Overview

Fibromyalgia Guide Part 1: Overview

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common musculoskeletal conditions in the United States, after arthritis. According to the American College of Rheumatology, two to four percent of Americans have fibromyalgia, and the majority of that population is women. Fibromyalgia is seen in all age groups, from children to the elderly. Most patients, however, begin to experience symptoms between ages 20 to 50. Fibromyalgia occurs worldwide and there is no specific ethnic predisposition to the syndrome.

Fibromyalgia In Children And Teens

A 2018 study published by Fibromyalgia Resources found that four out of five teenagers with juvenile fibromyalgia will continue to have pain and other symptoms into adulthood. Moreover, half of children with fibromyalgia will grow up to have more severe fibromyalgia. Child and teen fibromyalgia affects more girls than boys and most girls with fibromyalgia are diagnosed between ages 13 and 15. The diagnosis is made if 5 out of 18 tender points are found and if the young person is experiencing aches and pain that have lasted at least three months. Other fibromyalgia symptoms in children and teens include fatigue, sleep issues, stomach problems, headaches, dizziness, restless legs while sleeping, anxiety and depression.

More Women Are Diagnosed With Fibromyalgia

While men can get fibromyalgia, women are at a higher risk for developing the condition. For years, researchers have been looking at the differences in hormones, brain chemistry, immune systems, and genetics. It is also possible that traditional gender roles may have to do with the discrepancy. In fact, some experts believe that many men do not share their symptoms with their doctors for fear they may be viewed as weak, and if they don’t share their symptoms, they cannot be diagnosed. Also, because more women are affected by fibromyalgia, a physician is less likely to consider a fibromyalgia diagnosis for a male patient.