May 12th is Coming

Each year on May 12th, we observe International Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. Globally, we also acknowledge Awareness for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND), typically considered Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). This does include other conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, Addison’s Disease, Lupus, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS), & Irritable Bowel Syndrome to name a few.

Awareness Ribbons

Fibromyalgia affects 2-4% of the population. For context that’s up to 13 million of the US population & 1.5 million of the Canadian population  It is a musculoskeletal syndrome and causes a variety of symptoms. Common to all Fibromites is chronic widespread pain and debilitating fatigue. Additional symptoms can include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • migraines/chronic headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • irritable bladder
  • insomnia
  • hypersensitivity to cold/hot
  • swelling
  • fibro fog (inability to concentrate/focus)
  • difficulty remembering
  • numbness
  • stiffness
  • decreased energy
  • noise, light and odor sensitivity
  • skin sensitivity
  • See a more extensive list here

Symptoms may come and go, lasting a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of treatments and therapies focus on reducing the amount and frequency of pain. They also aim to improve sleep. Therapies such as exercise, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care aim to manage symptoms without pharmacological interventions. Prescriptions manage pain, improve sleep, and combat depression, too.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic
Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME)
affects ¼-¾ of 1% of the population For context that is up to 2.5 million of the US population & up to 300,000 of the Canadian population. It is a serious, long-term illness that affects multiple body systems. Symptoms of CFSME are severe fatigue, and sleep issues. Additional symptoms commonly include: post-exertional malaise (PEM), problems with thinking and concentrating, pain, and dizziness. Like fibromyalgia, symptoms may come and go, lasting a few minutes, an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year. There is no cure and no real recommended treatment plans . Individual symptoms may be treated or managed and like Fibromyalgia, they may provide relief for some but not others. Coping strategies, like learning new ways to manage activity, may also be helpful in some.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) is a syndrome resulting from a reaction to environmental factors such as tobacco smoke, auto exhaust, perfume, insecticide, new carpet, chlorine, food chemicals an preservatives. Symptoms can vary extensively and can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Congestion
  • Itching / Rash or hives
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Chest Pain
  • Changes in heart rhythm
  • Breathing problems
  • Muscle pain and/ot stiffness
  • Diarrhea / constipation
  • Bloating & gas
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problem
  • Mood changes

Treatment typically is to avoid the irritant

AWARENESS DAY HISTORY

Fibromyalgia, CFSME, MCS Awareness Day was first observed in North America in 1992 in honour of the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

Why Florence Nightingale?

During in the Crimean War on the 1850’s with the English army, she established the training of women, organizing them to help care for the wounded soldiers, establishing the basis of modern nursing.

During the war while working on the front lines, Florence suffered a traumatic collapse which resulted in most of her life to be in debilitating chronic pain, often unable to walk or leave her bed. Documentation suggests her symptoms to be similar to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. 

SPREAD AWARENESS

To help spread Awareness of Fibromyalgia and these other conditions please use the following hashtags in your social media:

  • #May12th
  • #FibromyalgiaAwarenessDay
  • #CFSMEAwarenessDay
  • #MCSAwarenessDay

As the month of May is also dedicated to Fibromyalgia Awareness you can use these additional hashtags

  • #FibromyalgiaAwareness
  • #FibromyalgiaAwarenessMonth

 

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