How common is Fibromyalgia (FM)?
8 to 12 Million Americans suffer with Fibromyalgia to the point that it interferes with their normal life. For those 8-12 Million patients, FM is as disabling as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, congestive heart failure and similar chronic conditions. Fibromyalgia is very similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in causes, symptoms and treatments. The difference is that patients suffering with Fibromyalgia (FM) have more severe pain, and those suffering with CFS find fatigue is their greatest symptom.
Who is at risk for Fibromyalgia?
People of every age, ethnicity, gender and socioeconomic group can have FM, although it is most prevalent in people aged 35-54 and women are affected at 4 times the rate of men, and women have a genetic predisposition for developing FM.
What are the symptoms of FM?
For some, FM symptoms begin gradually and worsen over time. For others, it starts abruptly, often with devastating pain symptoms that just won’t go away. A sudden onset may be triggered by a dramatic physical or emotional event. Regardless of how it starts, over time its most persistent symptom usually becomes extreme, unrelenting muscular pain. To compound the problem, despite feeling exhausted, most people with FM have a lot of difficulty sleeping. Other common symptoms also include:
- Easily exhausted
- Unexplained extreme fatigue
- Decreased ability to perform work or educational, social and personal activities (This includes multi-tasking, which is no longer possible for many patients who were very capable prior to FM.)
- Difficulty with concentration secondary to the irritability and distraction from the pain
- Forgetfulness and difficulty with short term memory
- Headaches unlike those previously experienced
- Joint pain unrelated to injury or trauma, without swelling or redness
- Muscle pain and stiffness
- Unrefreshing sleep
Most patients have a unique combination of these symptoms, which can significantly diminish a person’s quality of life, and in severe cases can inhibit a person from being able to carry out basic daily life functions.
Think of illness as an “Energy Crisis” disorder. Low energy production at the cellular level leads to decreased energy reaching the muscle tissues. For example, think of Writer’s Cramp: the muscles in your fingers seize up and hurt to the point that they are unusable, yet if you straighten them out quickly it hurts much worse. As energy begins to flow once again into the fingers, they relax and quit hurting. Now imagine this happening to all the muscles in your body, but randomly in some, and constantly in others. Ooh, that’s painful!
Is Fibromyalgia treatable?
Yes! Many who suffer from FM have been chronically ill for years, and have sought relief from many sources and found little, yet this disorder is very treatable with the right evaluation and treatment program. At Renewed Vitality, by using both natural and standard medical procedures that are 10-20 years ahead of what most doctors currently use, most patients show remarkable results! 85-90% of our patients are able to take their lives back in 8-12 months! That is an incredible success rate of which we are very proud.
How is it Diagnosed?
There are no laboratory tests that directly identify Fibromyalgia disorder. The common methods of diagnosing FM include a thorough history and positive tender points on physical examination. A thorough physical exam and a detailed patient history provide clues for the doctor to consider, evaluate, and make decisions based on your unique symptoms.
Because of the “Energy Crisis” aspect to this disorder, however, it is important to perform key laboratory tests that identify energy deficits. At Renewed Vitality we use an involved system of individualized testing that helps us identify and properly treat Fibromyalgia. These tests can include:
- Performing 20 to 30 or more specialized blood tests that allow the doctors to look at the “big picture” of the entire illness.
- Testing of hormones, from sleep hormones such as melatonin, to female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone
- Looking carefully at other hormone levels, including human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone, paying special attention to the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary gland functions. Both women and men need adequate testosterone levels.
- Performing tests to look for possible chronic viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections that may be impacting your immune system.