Living With Fibromyalgia

Living With Fibromyalgia

Living With Fibromyalgia
To live with fibromyalgia, work with your doctor to find a treatment that works for you and then stick to it. This will likely include regular exercise, reducing stress and getting plenty of sleep. A support group can provide ideas for how to manage the condition along with general encouragement.

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    A , Neurology, answered
    Fibromyalgia often affects the ability to work. A survey comparing people with fibromyalgia to individuals being treated for other conditions found that 47% of those with fibromyalgia had lost a job because of the disease, compared with only 14% of people losing a job for another health problem. In another survey, people with fibromyalgia lost three times as many workdays as compared to healthy workers.
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    A , Healthcare, answered
    Many people with fibromyalgia tell of experiencing great stress on the job. Employers also tell of being concerned with the output of chronically ill patients, citing reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, poor work quality and increased rates of on-the-job accidents. Your employer may want to know if you are physically able to handle your job responsibilities. Other questions include: what should the employer do if you are fatigued? How can the employer handle days missed because of doctors' appointments or illness? Can the employer count on your work as being reliable? Whatever you do, communicate openly with your employer. Some people with fibromyalgia are able to work full time by allowing more time at work - so they can move at a slower pace and even take rest periods throughout the day. Some helpful tips include:
    Ask for help from coworkers on days when pain and fatigue are overwhelming. Pay them back with your assistance on days when you feel better.
    Take periodic breaks to avoid getting overtired or stressed during busy workdays.
    Listen to music during your workday if you can to help keep stress levels low.
    Most importantly, seek a balance between self, family, community and work. This will help you maintain a strong support network to keep you centered and enable you to have strength to get through the day--even when fibromyalgia symptoms flare.
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    If you cannot work because of your FM, contact the Social Security Administration for help with disability benefits.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.

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    There's no reason for your ideal weight to change if you have fibromyalgia. Some people with fibromyalgia complain of weight gain, but this may be because they become more sedentary as they struggle with pain and fatigue. Being sedentary can worsen your symptoms, which is why doctors often recommend a regimen of light to moderate exercise for people with fibromyalgia.
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    A , Health Education, answered

    If you can cook, you win two big points in the diet war. Preparing at least some meals yourself can be invaluable in weight loss and management because you can control the quality of the ingredients. The University of Tennessee’s nutrition expert Dr. Barbara Clarke comments, “It’s very important to have cooking skills to manage your diet in a simple, healthful, and controllable way.”

    Peggy Jensen, a registered dietitian in Virginia, agrees: “The biggest obstacle is a mind-set that I don’t have time for this. It’s not about preparing foods from scratch but preparing what you eat. When you get into it, you realize it doesn’t take more time than the junky stuff.”

    Cooking can be tough for some people with fibromyalgia. Oregon fibromyalgia expert Dr. Kim Dupree Jones advises, “Fatigue is a huge problem with fibromyalgia, so use already cut-up fruits and vegetables to save your time and energy. That way, when you are already exhausted, you won’t reach for fast food, but will eat more sensibly.”
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    A , Health Education, answered

    Your health challenges may be just the right wake-up call to finally take charge of your weight issues. There is no specific diet recommended for people with fibromyalgia, but many medical experts suspect there are important food connections and ones to avoid. Common cautions include stimulants, such as caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate, especially after midday for sleep problems. Try to also reduce additives and preservatives like MSG, salt, and the seasonings in soup, canned food, prepackaged goods, and fast foods, which can sensitize the central nervous system and drive pain.

    The following questions don’t promise a miracle cure. But asking yourself these questions will help you to better understand your own eating behaviors and weaknesses, set more realistic long-term goals, and hopefully inspire you to maintain a good weight and make healthy food choices during your entire lifetime.

    1.  What am I doing to control my portion sizes?

    2.  Am I willing to learn how to read and use the information on food labels?

    3.  Would my great-grandmother recognize this food?

    4.  What is my daily allowance for calories, fat grams, fiber grams, salt, and carbohydrates  to   maintain my weight? To lose weight?

    5.   How frequently can I prepare more of my own food?

    6.   Who and what can help me achieve my diet and nutrition goals?

    7.   Which foods am I willing to give up a few times a week? Which foods would I miss the most?

    8.   What are my smartest choices when dining out?

    9.   What is my snack strategy?

    10.  Is my diet plan one that I can stick with long term?

    11.  Am I hungry enough to eat an apple?

    Former acting U.S. surgeon general Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu says, “We doctors can talk until we’re blue in the face about the fact that two out of three Americans are now obese or overweight. But only you as an individual have the power to decide whether or not you’re going to eat fruits or cookies.”

    Peggy Jensen, a registered dietician in Virginia, concludes by suggesting, “Put a positive spin on your food choices. Rather than grieving for doughnuts, it’s all about finding tasty fruits and vegetables that you really like.”

    And asking yourself the right questions.

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    Being overweight can have some effect on fibromyalgia because the extra weight can also affect your sleep, your ability to exercise, and your eating habits.

    Research has shown that regular exercise is a very positive step and one of the most effective treatments for fibromyalgia. Just a routine walking program can help reduce your muscle pain and morning stiffness. If you are overweight, you may be unable to participate in an exercise program as regularly as you may need.

    Eating healthy and practicing good portion control can also help those with fibromyalgia to have more energy and generally improve your overall health. Being overweight may affect both your food choices and energy levels.
     
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    A , Neurology, answered
    A survey of 100 randomly selected people with fibromyalgia also found that those who were obese were:
    • More sensitive to pain
    • More likely to be out of shape
    • More likely to have a poorer quality of life
    Losing weight should substantially improve your fibromyalgia pain. In a 20-week study conducted at the University of Albany, overweight and obese people with fibromyalgia were treated using a weight-loss program that focused on dietary restrictions and increased physical activity, including 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise. Participants lost an average of a little more than 9 pounds, and their pain, disability, and mood disturbances improved significantly. Another study that treated morbidly obese people with fibromyalgia using weight-loss surgery reported substantial reductions in weight, severity of pain, and medication use.
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    It might seem difficult at first, but if you take good care of yourself with healthy eating, regular exercise and relaxation techniques, your energy levels will increase. Energy is sometimes hard to come by with fibromyalgia because of the pain, stress and fatigue associated with the condition. But, if you make healthy living a priority you will be surprised at the increase in your energy levels.

    Try to exercise regularly. Start slow. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Add some walking or other low-impact exercises. You could start even with a simple walk around the block. As you become more active, you will find that your energy increases. Regular exercise also will help you sleep better at night. You will wake up rested and filled with energy.

    It's important to give your body the fuel it needs. Eat more whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. And take time to relax. You might enjoy a picnic lunch that allows you to slow down and have a moment to meditate. Relaxation will reduce your stress and give you more energy.

    If you need help finding ways to get more energy with fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Working together, step by step, you will learn to focus on what you can do to feel better and have more energy.
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    Fatigue can be a daily experience with fibromyalgia, but a healthy lifestyle combined with medical treatment can reduce the level of fatigue that you feel.

    Try to eat a balanced diet full of whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Combine healthy eating with regular exercise. Exercise is a vital part of fibromyalgia treatment; it gives you energy and lessens fatigue.

    Good sleep is another important piece of the puzzle. Establish regular times to go to bed and to wake up. You will find that you are more refreshed and less fatigued.

    Besides adopting healthy habits, continue to learn about managing the fatigue that can come with fibromyalgia. Excellent resources are available to help you. If you need help finding additional information, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider.
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