Ever since Lady Gaga announced via Twitter that she’s been suffering from fibromyalgia, everyone — from the pop queen’s loyal Little Monsters, to people who don’t even keep up with pop culture — has been doing their research on the disease. What exactly is this condition, and what are the signs of fibromyalgia we should be aware of?
If you’re unfamiliar with the disease, fibromyalgia can stem from either physical trauma, stress, surgery complications, or infection. According to Mayo Clinic, it affects how a person’s brain processes pain, resulting in potential physical ailments such as chronic tension headaches, severe muscle cramping, irritable bowel syndrome, as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Because fibromyalgia symptoms are more or less subtle and can often be signs of a number of different health issues, the disease often goes undetected. According to Margaret Mulroney, RN, the onset of fibromyalgia can “be very slow,” and it can take years before someone receives a proper diagnosis.
She told Dream Clinic,
It’s unsure what, specifically, causes fibromyalgia, so it’s important to make yourself aware of symptoms. However, because the majority of fibromyalgia symptoms are generally subtle and can technically be signs of anything, keep in mind that it’s best to speak with your physician before jumping to any conclusions or engaging in self-diagnosis.
It’s one thing to still feel half-asleep until coffee meets your lips first thing in the morning. But waking up after a full six to eight hours of shut-eye and feeling like you haven’t gotten a decent night’s rest in literal days? That’s a totally different story.
Daniel J. Clauw, MD, director of the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, told Health.com that a whopping 80 percent of people living with fibromyalgia experience chronic fatigue and have difficulty sleeping, where the latter can actually be either a result, or even a cause of chronic pain.
Headaches are a common sign of stress or illness, while a migraine — a severe, throbbing pain occurring in one specific area of your head — is a beast of its own.
Migraines are agonizing, and can lead to feelings of nausea, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. If you experience migraines frequently, it could be a tell-tale sign of fibromyalgia.