Fibromyalgia is a condition that has a set of many somewhat consistent symptoms but unlike a disease, there aren’t any medical tests that can be used to specifically identify the syndrome. It is difficult to diagnose as the usual kinds of laboratory tests do not reveal abnormalities. The attempt to describe fibromyalgia is usually reduced to a recitation of these most common symptoms: pain, generalized stiffness, sleep which is non-restorative, chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression, a lack of concentration, and digestive upsets are the most common complaints, among a host of many others.
Estimates of numbers of people affected are unreliable as many are undiagnosed and it is therefore difficult to find exact numbers. Many suggest it has become an epidemic. I have developed a theory about why this is so common in women , or more to the point why more women than men disclose their condition to health professionals than do men. However, with the amount of research that is being reported about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other invisible dis-eases, it appears likely that men suffer as much from this mysterious condition as women, but up until now has not been reported as frequently. It seems possible that men report PTSD while women are usually diagnosed as fibromyalgia, yet the symptoms are generally identical.
Fibromyalgia is a biopsychosocial concern, an approach which I first discussed in my earlier book years ago, Women and Fibromyalgia Living with an Invisible Dis-ease, iUniverse, 2007. The blogs I initially posted from 2007 onwards on this web site enhanced the content of the first book and were generally initiated by the comments I received from people world wide, everyday personal insights and experiences as my own journey through life with fibromyalgia continues. The combination of the blogs incorporated in the second book together with the first book provide an in-depth understanding of this invisible dis-ease as a theory developed regarding the types of people prone to fibromyalgia. It is to the commentators on the blogs who provided so much personal information that I owe a great deal of gratitude. Here is book # 2, published July, 2002. Both books can be ordered from iUniverse.