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International Fibromyalgia Day: Invisibility and Pain

Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes severe pain and sensitivity that makes people, especially women, suffer from chronic fatigue. However, it is an unknown disease, for which there is neither a cure nor a clear diagnosis.

Woman touching her back and waist

Photo: Freepik

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Día internacional de la fibromialgia: entre la invisibilidad y el dolor

Fibromyalgia is a disease that causes severe pain and sensitivity that makes people, especially women, suffer from chronic fatigue. However, it is a shadow disease, for which there is neither a cure nor a clear diagnosis.It has been recognized by the World Health Organization since 1992 and causes severe pain and sensitivity in those who suffer from it. To date, its causes are unknown, but it is known that women or people suffering from rheumatic diseases suffer more frequently.

Fibromyalgia symptoms

Being a condition in the neurological system, it causes sensitivity and generalized pain in specific points of the body. However, such pain tends to come and go, or increase, throughout the day. Likewise, it is common for it to generate rigidity in the body and a tingling sensation in the extremities. Consequently, it tends to create mood disturbances, headaches or joint discomfort

In general, those who suffer from it also have difficulties sleeping or performing their daily tasks, since in the long term it causes exhaustion. However, beyond chronic pain, that is to say, that it lasts more than three months, there are no such clear symptoms.

In fact, this disease is quite a mystery, since it does not have a specific procedure for its detection or a cure, as explained by the American College of Rheumatology. However, the organization estimates that "fibromyalgia affects between two and four percent of the population, more women than men." In Colombia, it is estimated that 31% of Colombians suffer from some chronic pain, according to the Colombian Association for the Study of Pain (ACED). To a large extent, these figures usually correspond to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia causes a deterioration in the quality of life of people. In this way, it impacts not only the state of health, but also family and work relationships and the state of mental health. In this regard, it is associated with the development of anxiety and depression. In addition, it tends to promote confusion and mental exhaustion, which is known as "fibromyalgia fog."

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Fibromyalgia in Latin America

For these reasons, various groups have demonstrated to seek legislation that allows fibromyalgia patients to improve their quality of life, receive quality care and encourage more research to find its causes and cure. First of all, it is essential not to underestimate or normalize the pain. For this reason, it is essential to make the population aware of this condition, which is more common than it seems.

In Argentina, at the end of last year and under the leadership of the Argentine Central Sensibility group, Congress was required to urgently deal with a bill that seeks the protection of patients with fibromyalgia, electro hypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity. On the other hand, in Chile, at the end of last year, a group of deputies presented a bill that seeks to guarantee compliance with the rights of patients who suffer from it. The same story is presented in Mexico, where the Federal Congress is being required to legislate on the subject.

An investigation by the Cuban Journal of Rheumatology indicates that "Latin American countries such as Brazil report a prevalence of FM of 0.6% and 4.4% in the general population, with predominance in the female sex and the age group with the highest incidence between 35 and 60 years, therefore, Although it does not currently constitute an alarming health problem, the continuous increase in these statistical figures would lead to making it one.

On the other hand, there are also activists who call for empathy with those who suffer from constant pain. The book "Fibromyalgia, my partner" , by the author Maite Padilla, tells about the limitations and losses caused by this disease. However, it also offers a positive look.