Men, Children, and Teenagers as Fibromyalgia Victims
Fibromyalgia is a common, unexplained medical condition that causes long-term, wide-spread body pain and tenderness in the joints, muscles, tendons and soft tissues. Women between the ages of 20 and 50 are the most common victims of this mysterious and, sometimes, debilitating condition. Nonetheless, over 6 million people suffer from fibromyalgia. Some of those 6 million people are men, children, and teenagers.
What Causes Fibromyalgia in Men?
Unfortunately, it’s not quite certain what causes fibromyalgia in men or why so few men suffer from it. Certain types of viral infections, traumas such as car accidents, and emotional stress can trigger it. In some cases, though, it strikes without warning. Whatever the cause, genetics seem to play a huge part in the risk factor for men. Chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping are common complaints, as are headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, and restless legs syndrome. Memory problems and difficulty concentrating are often among common symptoms as well.
In general, men tend to have fewer symptoms than women. They tend to have less from fatigue and they have pain in fewer places. However, they seem to be deeply affected by it, mentally and emotionally. In turn, they are also more likely to avoid seeking treatment for the condition. It has been estimated that up to 20% of men with the disorder are undiagnosed. The longer men put off seeing the doctor, the more they put themselves at risk of developing complications that can affect their work, their hobbies, and their relationships. Depression is not uncommon among men who have delayed getting a diagnosis. This can lead to a rapid decline in a man’s quality of life.
The most important thing a man with fibromyalgia can do is to get diagnosed. The sooner that happens, the sooner he can start treatment.
It is important for men to seek the care of a team of health care professionals who have experience in treating its symptoms. However, they can certainly take steps to make changes in their lifestyle that can greatly increase their quality of life. Therefore, lifestyle habits include, but are not limited to:
- Beginning and maintaining a regular sleeping pattern.
- Eating a healthful, balanced diet.
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol.
- Beginning and maintaining a regular, daily exercise program.
Fibromyalgia in Children and Teenagers
Fibromyalgia can be very hard to diagnose in children because still are not any definitive tests to diagnose it. Furthermore, it is a rare condition in children; it is much more common in adults. Out of all fibromyalgia patients, this condition mostly affects women over eighteen years of age. Even so, between 1 percent and 7 percent of children are affected by fibromyalgia or similar conditions. Just as fibromyalgia in adults is more likely to affect women, child and teen fibromyalgia occurs more often in girls than in boys. Most girls with the condition are diagnosed between ages 13 and 15.
In children, fibromyalgia is called juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS). If a child also has arthritis or another disease related to the fibromyalgia, it’s called juvenile secondary fibromyalgia syndrome.
What Causes Fibromyalgia in Children and Teenagers?
Sadly, the cause of fibromyalgia continues to elude the scientific community. However, the condition typically runs in families, although no gene has been discovered yet. Fibromyalgia has been connected to a number of other health conditions, including immune, endocrine, psychological, and biochemical problems.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia in Children and Teenagers
The most challenging component of fibromyalgia in children and teens is that the symptoms tend to compound upon each other. For example, the pain of fibromyalgia can make it very difficult to sleep. When children can’t sleep, they feel more tired during the day. This tiredness makes the pain feel worse. The symptoms become a cycle that is difficult for kids to escape.
Fibromyalgia can also lead to a host of other social issues. For example, it is common for kids to miss school an average of three days per month; they can have trouble making friends, and may feel like they’re unpopular because of their condition. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia in teens and children include:
- Difficulty sleeping and waking up tired
- Anxiety and depression
- Difficulty remembering
- Restless legs while sleeping
Treating Fibromyalgia in Teens and Children
A team of specialists will usually work together to treat fibromyalgia in children and teens. This team typically includes a:
- Pediatric rheumatologist.
- Physical therapist.