Recently, Andrea Levy, who is the City Council of Madrid’s director of culture, sports and tourism and spokesperson for the local government, spoke publicly, which gave rise to criticism among spectators and users of social media. Her reading lacked content and she seemed to stall. The reason? According to her, it is due to fibromyalgia.
Although this disease is a real disorder affecting many people, the World Health Organization, WHO, did not recognize it until 1992. To date , it affects 5.4% of the general population and 92.7% of patients are women, according to data from Association for Fibromyalgia.
Some have questioned whether it is because of this that Andrea Levy’s speech was not as expected. So let’s take a look at what fibromyalgia is, as well as what symptoms people with this disease may have.
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disease that tends to affect middle-aged women to a greater extent. Its cause is unknown, but observations show that it causes symptoms that may explain what is happening in Andrea Levy’s public speech and many other aspects of her life.
According to some studies , the disease is associated with problems involving some form of burnout. That is, it involves acute and intense stress that makes it difficult to perform normal tasks. It is not because they consist of specific signs, but because of the deterioration in quality of life.
The symptoms can be aggravated by several factors:
- Lack of sleep.
- Temperature changes.
The most characteristic symptom of fibromyalgia is persistent and general pain in the body – both in the muscles, joints and tendons in the upper and lower part of the body. Andrea Levy says that this pain can almost be “paralyzing” and it affects her night’s sleep.
General malaise, lack of sleep, fatigue, lack of energy and other types of discomfort, even when taking medication to deal with it, affect the quality of life. And thus professional performance.
A study in the journal Clinical Rheumatology suggested more than 10 years ago that this disorder is the cause of temporary incapacity for work among workers.
Continue reading: What You Need to Know About Fibromyalgia
What are the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia?
According to scientific literature, the primary symptom of Andrea Levy’s disease is pain. Although theories have been developed to explain the origin, it is not entirely clear. Autoimmune diseases, genetics and oxidative stress in metabolism have been considered.
The symptoms associated with fibromyalgia are the following:
- Stiffness: Especially morning stiffness. There are problems moving your fingers, stretching your legs and bending your back. This stiffness can be gradual and diffuse, causing new pains such as tension headaches and changes in the peristaltic movements, leading to colic.
- Temporomandibular joint dysfunction: Along with stiffness and muscle contractures in the face, the jaw loses functionality.
- Hypersensitivity and chronic fatigue: This is extreme fatigue that prevents the person from performing daily activities. Even when the person is asleep, he or she does not feel that he or she is being rested or “healed”.
- Fog: Intense mental exhaustion that creates chronic pain in these patients. At the same time, concentration problems and short-term memory problems develop.
- Anxiety and depression: Typical of all the stress that accumulates in the person with chronic pain who does not feel able to perform daily activities. It has also been suggested that some cases of fibromyalgia are secondary to mood disorders and not the other way around. It is clear and the prognosis can get worse in these situations.
Symptoms that affect one’s quality of life
Based on the above, fibromyalgia is understood as a disease that not only affects the quality of life but also a person’s social development. Therefore, it would not be wrong to consider this as the cause of several problems at work.
Andrea Levy, who states that she was diagnosed with this pathology last July, says that dealing with the discomfort is a struggle in itself.
Find out: 5 good breakfast meals for fibromyalgia
Treating fibromyalgia is a battle with several open fronts
There is no cure for fibromyalgia and treatment can only relieve the symptoms that patients have. Opioid-free painkillers, topical application of heat, physiotherapy massage and exercise are included in the therapeutic arsenal.
Stress management and, if appropriate, prescribing antidepressants are essential to improve nighttime sleep. It is a struggle with several open fronts as it requires not only dealing with the physical discomfort but also the emotional stress that fibromyalgia causes in patients.
The Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare clarifies the following:
If you or a loved one suspects that you are suffering from fibromyalgia, make sure you go to a trusted doctor.