Who Is Affected?What Are The Symptoms?
What Causes Fibro?
How Is Fibro Diagnosed?
How Is Fibro Treated?
What Is The Prognosis?
Fibro is Fibromyalgia Syndrome, also known as FMS or FM. Fibromyalgia is pronounced Fy - bro - my - al - gee - ah.
Fibro is a chronic illness characterised by chronic widespread pain, hypersensitivity to pain (and other stimuli), chronic fatigue and sleep disturbances. Fibro is a type of chronic pain condition, but Fibro patients experience a wide range of symptoms that can wax and wane over time1.
The name "Fibromyalgia" literally means pain in the muscles and fibres (ligaments) of the body, but it is now recognised that this name does not accurately reflect what is happening with the condition. 'Fibromyalgia Syndrome' was chosen as a name for the condition in 1990 and it was previously known by many names, including Fibrositis, Unspecified Rheumatism, Muscular Rheumatism and Neurasthenia, all of which names are also now known to not accurately reflect the condition. Some people suggest the condition would better be called Central Sensitisation Syndrome2 or Pain Amplification Syndrome.
Fibro is a real condition3, with an increasing body of evidence to show that it is a Central Nervous System related disorder4.
Fibro is often a devastating condition for patients and the people around them and it has been shown to have more of an impact than many other chronic pain conditions and chronic illnesses5 6 7.
Who Is Affected?
Fibro can affect anyone. Although it is commonly thought that 80-90% of Fibro sufferers are women, this figure may be an overestimate and men do get it too3. And although a large proportion of Fibro sufferers are aged 35-60, anyone from children to the elderly can develop the condition.
Fibro is a surprisingly common condition: it is estimated that between 2% and 4.5% of the UK population has Fibro, which translates to between 1.2 and 2.7 million people in the UK alone. However, this figure has never been accurately measured (it is based on international prevalence statistics8 9 10 11) and it may be higher.
Because of its debilitating nature, Fibro has a large impact on everyone connected with a sufferer, from family and friends to employers.
Next: What Are The Symptoms?
Last updated 2 April 2009