Different Ages in Fibromyalgia: The Same Condition Facing Various Challenges

By: Dr Alex Robber

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you may have had several first-hand stereotypes about the disorder. One persistent misconception is that mostly middle-aged or older individuals are affected by fibromyalgia especially elderly females.

In fact, a broad variety of ages and both sexes are affected by fibromyalgia. While approximately 8 percent of individuals are more likely to be diagnosed at an elderly age by the era of 80 years, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association, this may reflect distinctions in symptom screening and reporting, rather than just how prevalent the disease is.

But no matter how probable you are at a specified era to have fibromyalgia; the condition often introduces distinct difficulties at distinct phases of life. This is both because of social and occupational variables, such as whether you are in college, working a full-time job, or raising a family, and because elderly individuals are more likely to have other circumstances of health.

Here are some background data on what to expect from distinct ages of fibromyalgia, along with private accounts of living with the disorder.

Is Fibromyalgia an Age-Related Disease?

While a fibromyalgia diagnosis becomes more prevalent with age, not all physicians agree that this is based on how prevalent the condition is. We discovered that this is not an age-related disease, tells Bruce S. Gillis, MD, a Los Angeles study physician and fibromyalgia specialist who has created a fibromyalgia diagnostic test. It can affect the very elderly kids.

Younger individuals are often screened for and diagnosed with other circumstances, suggests Dr. Gillis, even though their symptoms point to fibromyalgia. For instance, he claims, for biomarkers connected with fibromyalgia, many kids diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) test favorable.

But while the onset of fibromyalgia may not be more common among older people, Gillis believes that with age symptoms may vary somewhat. It is rational to believe that the elderly may have more intense fibromyalgia symptoms, he says, as they may experience a total loss of stamina, sleep problems, and other causes of joint and muscle pain.

In addition, Gillis notes that older people often don’t have the capacity to practice as much as they want, so they end up in a kind of shut-in condition that can lead to increased exhaustion, depression and anxiety.

Young Adult Getting Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia

While it can be hard at any era to get a right diagnosis of fibromyalgia, this problem can be a specific challenge for adolescents and young adults. “I saw about 10 physicians attempting to see if something could diagnose me,” tells Kiley, a 19-year-old resident of Boston who was born with fibromyalgia five years ago, as a freshman at high school. She blogs at the spoonie about living with chronic diseases.

Kiley claims that the diagnosis of fibromyalgia seemed to her physicians to be something to avoid. “They didn’t want me to feel bound by a disease that would likely not go away,” she recalls. “But at that point I really wanted answers, and really didn’t care what they were.”

Kiley did not find it simple to live with fibromyalgia during high school. “I was dealing with this while individuals of my era had ordinary experiences,” she notes. “You get nervous and depressed thinking you’re not normal, like any high school student, but like 10 times because you’re having a chronic disease.”

Kiley is currently studying psychology as a college graduate, hoping to become an art therapist with a nod to the role that art has played in assisting her deal with her situation. Because of her health problems, she takes internet courses to minimize the danger of missing class.

Kiley claims one upside of taking internet courses is that she’s going to graduate earlier. But she acknowledges that her situation also socially distinguishes her, something with which she has learned to create peace. “It’s certainly my norm, and now I understand how to handle it,” she tells. But sometimes, she says, “just attempting to acknowledge the reality that this is my life especially when I was younger and started with it first” has been hard.

Mid-Career Dealing With Fibromyalgia

Dealing with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia while working a busy full-time job also introduces distinctive difficulties, as discovered a little over a year ago by Julianne Davis, a 38-year-old resident of Newbury Park, California, who works in a corporate legal department and has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Davis has discovered it harder to get refreshing night sleep since the start of her symptoms and her diagnosis. Through frequent meditation, she attempts to improve her sleep quality. “You’re putting away your phone, you’re turning off your things, and you’re getting in that quiet location,” she tells.

Davis often must cope with fatigue and brain fog even when she is well rested at job. “I have to write down everything,” she says, to assist her remember duties, and even then, “sometimes things slip through the cracks.” While frequent walking can assist with tiredness, she says, “I walk for 20 minutes some days, and my back is in pain.” Regularly planned appointments for chiropractic and massage assistance decrease pain and discomfort several times a week.

It wasn’t always simple to adjust to these new routines. “I believe I put too much pressure on myself in the start to be like two or three years ago,” Davis claims. “When I listened to my own body, I got better, but that was a large change for me, letting go of what I believe I should be.”

Middle Age and Beyond in Fibromyalgia

Robin Dix, a 62-year-old resident of New Hampshire who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia eight years ago, began the onset of symptoms of fibromyalgia around menopause. She is writing a column at Fibromyalgia News Today called Through the Fog.

“My primary symptom was tiredness at first, more than pain,” she claims. But “It’s sort of balanced out over the years” to include both. The other diseases she has acquired over the years, including chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, underactive thyroid, irritable intestine syndrome (IBS), and gastroesophageal reflux illness (GERD), are one factor in her fatigue rate, Dix claims.

“It got worse for me, so it feels like it has something to do with age,” Dix says. She also experienced increased muscle weakness in her legs, making it difficult for her to walk. “It’s difficult to understand how things are interconnected,” acknowledges Dix, but notes that “the piece that I understand is fibro, and nothing else is body pain in general. For me, it’s not that hard, but it’s always there. It’s kind of like music from background.”

Brain fog is a challenge for Dix as well. “The brain fog was not so bad at first. It feels like it’s worse now, but some of that could just get older,” she says. While most physicians claim that fibromyalgia is not a progressive disease, Dix says, “Our symptoms alter over the years for a lot of individuals, including myself.”

This may, of course, be due to the onset of other age-related health circumstances. For Dix, the outcome of all these symptoms is that staying at home is sometimes needed instead of seeing family and friends. “It’s very lonely when you have to cancel plans,” she suggests. “You can get very isolated.” But like her younger colleagues with fibromyalgia, Dix discovered that a social outlet and help can be provided by the internet. “There are many areas where individuals can communicate online, and that makes you feel so much less alone,” she suggests. “This is so essential to me.” Stay Healthizes!

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Dr Alex Robber

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and nonpainful signals.

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