Why doctors are finally paying attention to it
Why doctors are finally paying attention to it. SAMANTHA RIDEOUT
STILL POORLY UNDERSTOOD by medical scientists but at last an area of widespread research, fibromyalgia is the name for a cluster of symptoms that affects an estimated two to three per cent of adults.
The most prominent of these symptoms is pain spread widely around the body. It’s usually described as dull, constant and without apparent cause. Sufferers might also experience muscle stiffness, headaches, brain fog or fatigue.
Most patients are diagnosed in middle age. On average, it takes more than two years to get a diagnosis, in part because there are no lab tests to confirm it. Your doctor might still order some to rule out other issues, such as multiple sclerosis.
Fibromyalgia’s exact cause remains unconfirmed. A popular theory is that it’s a disorder of the central nervous system—i.e., something’s gone wrong with the way the brain processes pain signals from the nerves.
Because patients show few or no external signs of their suffering, some doctors have chalked fibromyalgia up to overactive imaginations. However, this position is becoming less common as more studies show that the condition is fairly frequent. Many medical authorities, including the World Health Organization, now recognize fibromyalgia.
Unfortunately, there’s no known cure; existing treatments are aimed at relieving symptoms. Patients are typically encouraged to try nonpharmaceutical measures first, then add drugs (muscle relaxants, painkillers) if necessary.
To date, the most effective method of tempering pain seems to involve graded exercise. This means starting at an appropriate level—which can be quite moderate—and gradually
Extrinsic aging is...
A. toxic mould growth on
B. when ultraviolet radiation
damages the skin. C. cellular degradation due
to chronic stress.
D. the overall effect of aging
on quality of life.
Answer: B. Extrinsic aging is skin damage caused by environmental factors, primarily UV radiation, as opposed to the unavoidable changes related to genetics and passing time. On exposed skin, up to 90 per cent of aging can be caused by the sun or tanning booths. To see the extent to which this may be happening to you, compare regularly exposed areas (the face and neck, for example) to areas that are usually covered. Unlike natural skin aging, extrinsic aging can cause a leathery texture, spider veins, freckling, discoloration and deep wrinkles.