Today’s Factismal: Nearly ten million people in the US suffer from fibromyalgia.
Imagine that your skin is wrapped in razor-sharp barbed wire coated in acid, so that the slightest pressure causes you pain. Now imagine that the barbed wire weighs 50 pounds, so every movement fatigues you and takes more effort than it should. And now imagine that every night evil gremlins come into your bedroom and beat you with sticks every time that you start to nod off. After a few days of this treatment, you’ll be sleep-deprived, stiff, sore, and so full of pain that you can hardly think. In short, you’ll be a typical fibromyalgia sufferer.
Though fibromyalgia has been recognized as a medical disorder since 1976, very little is known for sure about what causes it or how to treat it. Many of the symptoms overlap with other diseases and no purely objective test for the disease has ever been devised. What we do know is that it is a wide-spread disease; nearly ten million people in the USA have it, or one in every thirty-two. For comparison, there are fewer than 1,000 people with Zika virus in the USA and only 50,000 cases of salmonella. Fibromyalgia is five times more common than cancer. Though research into the causes and cures for the disease continue, they are chronically under-funded mainly because the disease is debilitating but not fatal.
Today is National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day. If you know someone who suffers from these diseases, then why not show them a little extra kindness today? (Maybe you could try to give them a spoon.) And if you are afflicted with either of the diseases, then please consider joining Patients Like Me where they are attempting to crowd-source new approaches to medicine: