New Developments Raise Profile of Fibromyalgia

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Medical collaboration among recent developments in fibromyalgia education; an estimated 10 million Americans are affected by the disorder

The National Fibromyalgia Association is spreading the word about this complex chronic pain disorder with National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day on Monday, May 12. Organizations, including Allsup, which represents people nationwide for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, are helping to raise awareness about the condition.

About 10 million Americans, both women and men, are affected by fibromyalgia, with symptoms such as widespread body and muscle pain, moderate to severe fatigue, sleep problems and environmental sensitivity.

The theme for this year’s observation is “Caring by Sharing,” a nationwide campaign designed to involve support group leaders, patients, advocates, healthcare providers and others. For the first time, the NFA is holding a “Walk of F.A.M.E.” – Fibromyalgia Awareness Means Everything. The walk is scheduled in Orange, Calif., but anyone can participate as a “Virtual Walker” by visiting the organization’s Web site.

“However you choose to express your ‘Caring by Sharing’ on National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, we are confident that through our combined efforts, we will continue to move forward in raising awareness and providing a better quality of life for the millions of people suffering with this chronic pain disorder,” said Lynne Matallana, president and founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association. The association, established in 1997, is dedicated to education, research and patient advocacy.

The NFA estimates that diagnosis of fibromyalgia can take an average of five years from the date of the condition’s onset. A recent NFA survey found that less than one-third of physicians are “extremely/very confident” in their ability to diagnose the disorder. This concern is being addressed in part with a new collaboration, “The Fibromyalgia Circle of Care,” formed by the NFA, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing.

The “Circle of Care,” announced in December 2007, includes annual educational initiatives, such as satellite broadcasts and workshops that are designed to help healthcare providers with the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia patients. For more information, visit the NFA’s Web site.

On National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, the NFA and other groups are expressing support for people affected by the chronic condition, as well as their caregivers and healthcare providers.

Allsup is observing National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day with free posters available to hospitals, clinics and other community groups by calling Karen Hercules-Doerr at (800) 854-1418, ext. 5770.


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Corin Walson

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Karen Hercules-Doerr

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