Did you know that this week is Fibromyalgia Awareness Week? If you didn’t, now you do! Raising awareness of the condition is incredibly important to me personally, and this awareness month, we’re honoured to be helping the fantastic charity Fibromyalgia Action UK (FMAUK) spread the word.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that is thought to impact 1 in 20 people in the UK. FMAUK aims to improve the lives of people with fibromyalgia by increasing awareness of the condition throughout the UK and elsewhere, as well as improving the awareness of, and access to, treatments.
Fibromyalgia can bring unpleasant and life-changing symptoms, such as:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Widespread body pain
- Non-refreshing sleep
- Cognitive disturbances and confusion
People who suffer from fibromyalgia can find that it has a huge impact on their lives, and they may not be able to do things that they once did before developing the condition. For unknown reasons Fibromyalgia impacts women more than it does men. The women/men ratio is around 7:1.
There is no cure for Fibromyalgia. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms of the condition and includes things such as pain killers, anti-depressants and anti-epileptic medications, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and counselling.
USA & UK Awareness
International Awareness Day is on May 12th due to Florence Nightingale being born on this day and potentially having had fibromyalgia or ME. Read more about this here. This date is mostly observed in the USA.
We have had Awareness week in the UK since the early 2000s and for the last decade, it has been from the first Sunday of the month of September to the second Sunday.
Fibromyalgia Action UK is a registered charity run primarily by unpaid volunteers. The majority of volunteers are also fibromyalgia sufferers who work extremely hard, despite their condition, in order to forward the cause of fibromyalgia. FMAUK was established in order to provide information and support to sufferers and their families. In addition, the Association provides medical information for professionals and operates a national helpline.
The charity aims to encourage the NHS and other funding sources to conduct new research projects. At present, there is very little research being carried out in the UK and sufferers are told there is no cure. FMAUK hopes that will be a statement of the past.
FMAUK offers a range of support and information including:
- National Helpline 0300 999 3333 (10am – 4pm Mon – Fri)
- Benefits Helpline 0300 999 0055 (10am – 12pm Mon, Wed and Fri)
- Complimentary information booklets for doctors and other professionals (fully referenced)
- Books and videos
- Website Contacts with legal specialists
- Local support group and helpline contacts
How can you help?
The simplest way you can help is by spreading the word. This week is all about raising awareness of the condition and the people for whom it is part of everyday life. Perhaps you could learn a little bit more about the condition this week, and pass that knowledge onto a friend. Perhaps you could donate a little money to help support a charity like FMAUK.
Whatever it is you can do, every little bit makes a difference. I assure you it means the world to the vast, colourful and wonderful community.