By Isa Isawade
On Friday July 24, the world was hit by death of Adeola Osinuga, a popular radio presenter and wife of late Nigerian singer Olumuyiwa Osinuga popularly called ‘Nomoreloss’ after “a four-year battle against Fibromyalgia”.
Before her death, many people including celebrities around the world had been reported to be suffering from fibromyalgia.
But, what is this Fibromyalgia about? Many people are just hearing about it, and there are some who have, till this moment, not even heard of it. What are the symptoms, causes and treatment?
These questions are what this piece seeks to find answers to.
Fibromyalgia also known as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term chronic condition involving pains in almost all parts of the body including musculoskeletal pain . It makes one’s system to become hypersensitive to pain. It is characterized by widespread pain in the body.
Following are other facts about the painful condition:
1. Diagnosis: Its diagnosis is one of the most difficult, because it shares symptoms with many diseases such as arthritis, rheumatism among others. As a result, it’s usually misdiagnosed.
It used to be determined through what could be regarded as guess method- if like 75% of parts of the body, considered as trigger points for the disease, feel pain, it would be concluded that one is suffering from fibromyalgia. But, according to Healthline, with the 2016 revised diagnostic criteria, “healthcare providers may diagnose fibromyalgia if you’ve had pain in 4 out of the 5 areas of pain.”
Also if widespread pain in the body lasts for more than 3 months, one might be diagnosed for fibromyalgia. Before final conclusion, however, one’s healthcare provider must ascertain that no other condition is responsible for the prolonged pain one may be going through.
2. Major symptoms: Known symptoms for the condition include incessant pains which range from mild to severe in the muscles and bones, tenderness or increased sensitivity to pain, general fatigue, sleep difficulty, mental distress and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is a digestive condition causing stomach pain and bloating. Body will sharply react to things that should normally not be painful.
Other symptoms are painful menstrual periods, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, restless leg syndrome (RLS), sensitivity to cold or heat and difficulties with memory and concentration, known as “fibro-fog”, among others.
3. Trigger points: Common trigger points for fibromyalgia include back of the head, tops of the shoulders, upper chest, hips, knees and outer elbows.
4. Causes: There is no known cause of fibromyalgia. But, according to NHS, abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the nervous system processing pain messages are suspected to be capable of triggering fibromyalgia. Genetic factor is also suspected.
Physical and emotional stressful occurrences such as traumatic injury or infection, childbirth, undergoing an operation, relationship crises and death of loved ones are considered risk factors. Other likely responsible factors are rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.
5. Who is susceptible: Researches reveal that, though anyone can develop the condition, most sufferers are women. A Finding has indicated that women are affected 7 times as men. Also, Medicalnewstoday quoted the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) as saying, “around 5 million adults aged 18 years or over in the United States experience fibromyalgia, and 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women. Symptoms can appear at any time during a person’s life, but they are most commonly reported around the age of 45 years”.
6. Treatment: Fibromyalgia has no cure yet. One continues to manage and live with it. However, there are various forms of treatment to relieve people living with the condition and make them cope better. The treatment usually comes in combination because mostly sufferers experience several symptoms which could differ from one individual to another. Therefore, a sufferer needs to closely work with his or her doctor in order to arrive at suitable treatment combination.
Among recommended forms of treatment depending on individual cases are active exercise program; acupuncture; psychotherapy; behavior modification therapy; chiropractic care; massage, and low-dose anti-depressants. Others are painkillers; talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling, and lifestyle changes.
7. Diet: It is very important for people with fibromyalgia to main balanced diet. In addition, the following dietary measures are recommended to improve the condition.
• Consumption of high-energy foods that are low in sugar such as almonds, beans, oatmeal and avocado to help boost energy throughout the day. They help to improve tiredness symptoms that occur as a result of the condition.
• Avoiding foods that have gluten. Gluten sensitivity is thought to contribute to fibromyalgia. Therefore, removing it from diet list of fibromyalgia patients may improve the condition.
• Cutting out fermentable oligo-di-mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP). According to Medicalnewstoday, recent study showed that a diet low in FODMAP could have promising effects on pain levels in people with fibromyalgia.
• Avoiding additives and excitotoxins in the diet of people living with the condition is believed to be capable of significantly reducing pain symptoms.
• Eating of more seeds and nuts. Though, no study has yet established any “direct relationship between seeds, nuts, and an improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms”, they contain powerful micronutrients and minerals that are important for cell function.
Interested readers are encouraged to research more on the subject in order to get more detailed information on Fibromyalgia.