People with fibromyalgia have two problems that can make a conversation with their physicians difficult: first, most doctor visits are short; and second, your doctor may not understand how disabling fibromyalgia can be. Organizing the time you have with your doctor and helping him by prioritizing the issues you want to discuss during each visit can make your time together more productive.
If you feel as if your doctor is rushing you through your appointment and out the door, you're not alone. The average doctor's visit now lasts only about 20 minutes. While this may be enough time to review how to manage blood pressure, it's probably too short to handle several health issues adequately. If you try to talk about pain, poor sleep, and bowel issues, your doctor will probably become a bit uncomfortable, knowing there's not enough time to cover everything. It's not just the American system that's to blame -- the average doctor visit in Europe lasts 10 minutes, and in Japan, only 6 minutes.
Do most physicians consider fibromyalgia a significant medical condition? When you try to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, do you get the sense that he's really not listening and would rather hear about something else? This reaction is not just because of you -- and unfortunately it's not unique to your doctor. In a recent study, doctors were asked to rank the status they gave to 38 common medical conditions, including fibromyalgia, based on the standing they believed that each held among doctors. The health issues awarded the highest status included myocardial infarction (heart attack), leukemia, spleen rupture, brain tumor, pulmonary embolism, testicular cancer, and angina. Fibromyalgia was last on the list of 38. So, you may be right if you think your doctor does not understand that fibromyalgia is important. As a person who has the disease, you are an important resource in helping to educate your doctor about the significant impact that fibromyalgia can have. If she is not comfortable managing your fibromyalgia, look for someone who is.
People with fibromyalgia have two problems that can make a
conversation with their physicians difficult: first, most doctor
visits are short; and second, your doctor may not understand how
disabling fibromyalgia can be. Organizing the time... More