Group aim to raise awareness of disease
by JESSICA HALE
PAINTSVILLE — Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center's Sleep Diagnostic Lab has partnered with the National Fibromyalgia Association in a campaign to focus awareness on a disease which strikes men, women and children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.
Fibromyalgia can be very hard for doctors to diagnose and can be extremely debilitating and interfere with routine daily activities. Although accompanied by other symptoms, widespread pain is the primary symptom of FM. Other symptoms include, moderate to severe fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, irritable bowel syndrome and headaches or migraines. Other neurological symptoms such as vision problems, dizziness and impaired coordination may also accompany FM.
Experts estimate that 10 million Americans and approximately 5 percent of the population worldwide suffer from FM. While most common in women, the disease can affect anyone.
The cause of FM remains a mystery, but it has been found to follow physical trauma such as an acute illness or injury which acts as a trigger in the development the disorder. Research has also suggested a genetic component.
"I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2005 after years of pain and searching for what was wrong with my body and mind. I was told by many physicians that the pain was all in my head," said Marcia Thompson, RN and manager of the PBH Sleep Diagnostic Lab. "After working at the sleep lab for several months and watching the number of people being diagnosed with sleep disorders that were linked to fibromyalgia pain, I knew we somehow needed to raise community awareness about this disorder. I checked for support groups and sadly there were none listed in our area. I thought how appropriate it would be if we held our first meeting the same week the NFA names May 12 as National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day."
The first Fibromyalgia Support Group meeting will take place at the Sleep Diagnostic Lab, Thursday, May 10, from 6 to 7:30 pm. The lab is located at 824 South Mayo Trail in Paintsville. The meeting is open to the public. For more information call (606) 789-2805, or 297-1945.
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