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Fibromyalgia is a common, chronic, generalized pain syndrome of unknown origin. Although pain and tenderness are its defining features, patients also complain of fatigue, sleep disturbance, non-cardiac chest pain, depression and poor concentration. Many patients also report chronic fatigue, which contributes to the disability and impairment that some patients face.
About six million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia. The vast majority (90 percent) are women.
Fibromyalgia isn't all that common. In the United States, it only affects about 5 million people, the majority of whom are women. More specifically, more than 80 percent of fibromyalgia cases are diagnosed in females. The disorder is also more common in young to middle aged adults. However, despite these statistics, fibromyalgia can affect anyone regardless of age or sex. It also runs in families and tends to affect people who suffer from rheumatic diseases, like lupus.
Fibromyalgia is becoming increasingly common and can be present in mild or extremely severe forms. It is estimated that it has increased in prevalence by 200-400% in the last 10-15 years, and now is present in as much as 4-8% of the adult population worldwide.
Fibromyalgia is a controversial diagnosis because the cause is not known, and some believe that it is not truly a disease but a collection of symptoms with different causes. As a result, the definition of fibromyalgia varies. A common definition is widespread pain and fatigue, involving both sides of the body above and below the waist. Using validated criteria for diagnosis, fibromyalgia is the most common cause of generalized musculoskeletal pain in women between 20-55 years of age, occurring in 2% of the population in the United States.
Do you ever feel as if no one really understands your fibromyalgia? Do you feel that your family, friends, co-workers, and even your doctors don't really believe you have problems with pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbance? You should know that you're not alone -- fibromyalgia affects 2-3% of adults in the United States, Canada, South America, and Europe.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. Worldwide it affects people of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds in the same proportion. An Israeli study comparing Bedouin women to Israeli women revealed 3.7% of the female population were affected by FM regardless of ethnicity. In a Canadian Amish study, the Amish percentages of women with FM were virtually the same as the Canadian general population. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. While it is most prevalent in women -- 75-90% of the people who have FM are women -- it also occurs in men and children of all ethnic groups.
Fibromyalgia is often seen in families, among siblings or mothers and their children.
Fibromyalgia affects as many as 5 million Americans ages 18 and older. Most people with fibromyalgia are women (about 80 to 90 percent). However, men and children also can have the disorder. Most people are diagnosed during middle age.
Fibromyalgia can occur by itself, but people with certain other diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other types of arthritis, may be more likely to have it. Individuals who have a close relative with fibromyalgia are more likely to develop it themselves.
This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center.
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