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May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month

2017 May 16

By The Old Sarge

Admit it. Sometimes you really get angry at people with no apparent disability who park in a handicapped slot at the grocery store. I know I used to.

Then I realized that not all physical disabilities are readily apparent. According to the Invisible Disabilities Association, about 26 million Americas suffer from a severe disability, but only about 25 percent of them use a cane, crutches, walker or other assistive devices.

In other words, they suffer from an invisible disability. Fibromyalgia is such a disability, and May has been set aside to raise awareness of the disease.

Fibro affects the body’s soft muscles and tissue. Symptoms range from chronic muscle pain, insomnia, fever and crippling fatigue so severe that sufferers struggle to make it through a normal day.

Other symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Concentration and memory problems — known as “fibro fog”
  • Depression
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Morning stiffness
  • Painful menstrual cramps
  • Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Tender points
  • Urinary symptoms, such as pain or frequency

According to the National Fibromyalgia Association, fibromyalgia often occurs following a physical trauma, such as an acute illness or injury, which may act as a “trigger” for the disorder.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that fibro affects 5 million Americans 18 and older. Although men and children can be affected, between 80 and 90 percent of those diagnosed are middle-aged women.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. People normally have the condition usually for life, but it usually does not get worse with aging. There are treatments and medications that may reduce symptoms.

Allsup may be able to help you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits if you had to stop working because of fibro. Click here to see how empower by Allsup®, a free online tool that helps you determine your likelihood of obtaining SSDI benefits, can improve your chances of being approved. You can read personal stories from individuals with fibromyalgia who obtained their SSDI benefits at Allsup.com.

In the meantime, be careful who you get angry at in the grocery store parking lot.

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