Scientists estimate that approximately 5 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from fibromyalgia. No exact cause is known yet, but links have been made between fibromyalgia and other conditions, lifestyle habits, and genetic traits.
Take a look at some of the traits of the most commonly affected people.
Sex: women account for 90% of all fibromyalgia sufferers.
Family History: One third of all fibromyalgia sufferers have a parent with fibromyalgia.
Stress: Those who live in a stressful environment, or are especially susceptible to both physical and emotional stress are at higher risk of developing symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Age: Fibromyalgia symptoms surface most frequently in middle age, but patients’ ages tend to range from 20 to 60 years old.
Diet: Certain foods are thought to intensify fibromyalgia symptoms. These include dairy, caffeine, nightshade vegetables (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers), fried foods, salted/pickled foods, alcohol, refined flours, and added sugars.
Conventional treatment methods involve prescribed painkillers and/or antidepressants, as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy. While these treatments can be helpful, many patients have also experienced both physical and emotional relief from fibromyalgia symptoms by eliminating processed foods and dairy products from their diet, and increasing consumption of plant foods. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and walnuts (among other foods) and antioxidant-dense fruits and vegetables like berries and leafy greens have shown to assist with the symptoms of fibromyalgia.