Statistics and Symptoms
❀ The National Fibromyalgia Association estimates that 10 million Americans have fibromyalgia.
❀ 90% of those diagnosed are women, but men and children can also have it.
❀ 50% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from sensitivity to odors, noise, bright lights and medications.
❀ Getting a diagnosis can take an average of five years.
❀ 60% of all patients are diagnosed in their 30’s and 40’s.
❀ Adults with fibromyalgia are three to four times more likely to suffer from depression.
Most common symptoms
Chronic widespread body pain is the primary symptom of fibromyalgia. Most people with fibromyalgia also experience moderate to extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to touch, light, and sound, and cognitive difficulties.
Little Known Symptoms
Depth perception issues – reaching for things and bumping your head, or trying to grab something in a drawer, but ramming your hand into it instead, feeling unsteady going down the stairs, bumping your hips into doorways even though there is at least a foots worth of clearance. This all happens to me randomly, not all the time, but usually for a few days and then disappears. I am clumsy like this in clusters.
Dry eyes – the eyeballs feel itchy, gritty and irritated. My eyes constantly water, from bright lights, the wind and the cold. A doctor explained that the eye is overcompensating for the lack of lubrication by creating constant tears. I am not sure if this is correct because they don’t water when I am at home, I think it may be tied to the sensitivity issue. The whites of my eyes are filled with red veins these days, they look as irritated as they feel.
Hair loss – this was one of my very first symptoms. I was sure I had a thyroid issue, but of course that test came back fine. I am lucky to have so much hair, but it falls out massively from the root. It can get pretty thin during a prolonged flare. When I start getting better, I have all these short baby hairs sprouting and sticking straight up all over my head.
Sweating – odorless perspiration, the kind that leaves giant circles under your armpits during the summer. I have tried every type of antiperspirant and nothing works. I said I was going to invent disposable pads you could stick on the underarm of your shirt to absorb the moisture. It is kind of embarrassing, but apparently has something to do with a malfunctioning of the nervous system.
Vision problems – they say that fibromyalgia often leads to changes in eyesight because it impacts the nervous system. Common complaints include blurred vision, inability to focus, and floaters. The blurriness and inability to focus comes and goes for me, like everything else with fibro. I am due for an eye check, this summer, but I’m sure the test would be different on different days. I’m not really sure how to handle that.
There are many more symptoms of fibromyalgia. Sometimes a new one will pop up for a bit and then disappear, and others become a permanent part of your life.