Top 6 Misconceptions About Fibromyalgia That People Need To Understand
Fibromyalgia may be a new term for some, but it is a very real and sad reality for others with the disease. Though the disease causes severe and widespread pain, there is still no cure, and sometimes the treatment for patients barely makes a difference.
There is a huge need for more awareness on fibromyalgia while researchers are still attempting to learn more about the disease themselves. Since there is still not much known, there are plenty of misconceptions surrounding it.
Here are some of the most common misconceptions about fibromyalgia, and this is what everyone should know, or rather understand, about the disease, whether they have it or not.
1. "It’s pure imagination."
According to the president of Sapphire Women’s Health Group, Dr. Donnica Moore, the most prevalent and depressing misconception about fibromyalgia is that the pain felt by the patient is just a figment of their imagination. This is entirely false. The reason why this misconception is so common, however, is because a lot of the pain experienced by patients is difficult for physicians to measure. This makes others with no experience with this disease believe that everything is just in their head. Some patients shared that during their early diagnosis, they were told by doctors that their symptoms were not real.
The first encounters with fibromyalgia were thought to be a mental disorder
The first diagnosis of fibromyalgia dates back to the 1820’s. People who complained of the symptoms were thought to have a mental disorder and were called different names because the condition was not scientifically studied back then. It was only after eighty years when the medical world first recognized the seriousness of the symptoms and was since then studied.
This is the reality
According to research, a functional MRI of a fibromyalgia patient showed that the patient’s nervous system is not aligned or balanced. This causes some parts of the brain to be deprived of oxygen, a vital component for the brain to heal and grow. Also, studies have shown that chronic pain can eventually affect the brain by making it constantly active. This can ultimately lead to the exhaustion of neurons, causing a total imbalance in the brain's activity.
2. "It only affects women."
What most people believe about fibromyalgia is that it only happens to women. This belief has everything to do with the recent studies that showed 80 to 90 percent of the affected individuals are women and older women. But, because of this, many men are becoming complacent and ignoring the symptoms of the disease.
Men can also be affected
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, anyone—man or woman, young and old—can be affected by this disorder. Although there are no definite findings yet on the exact cause of fibromyalgia, most cases of this disorder connect genes and other persisting conditions to result in the disease. Most patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia are first diagnosed with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or spinal arthritis. Also, some cases reported to have family members with the same condition too.