This Disease Is More Common in Women Than Breast Cancer

Updated: Dec. 30, 2017

Nearly 10 million people in the United States suffer from this condition—but no one is talking about it.

Virusnobeastsofierce/ShutterstockWhen you think of diseases and health disorders that primarily affect women, breast cancer is probably the first to pop into mind. While breast cancer certainly is very prevalent worldwide, it’s not nearly as common as the number of women suffering from fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition.

The National Institutes of Health defines fibromyalgia as “long-lasting or chronic disorder that causes muscle pain and fatigue (feeling tired).”

“The hallmarks of fibromyalgia are exhaustion, insomnia, widespread pain, and brain fog,” says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, author of The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Symptoms typically look similar to that of arthritis or tendinitis with pain being the most common complaint. Find out the fibromyalgia symptoms you might be ignoring.

This National Fibromyalgia Association estimates that nearly 10 million people in the United States and three to six percent of the population worldwide suffer from this condition, with 75 to 90 percent being women. (Compare that to the 236,968 American women who were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) While the exact causes of fibromyalgia remain unknown, researchers believe it has something to do with a glitch in the nervous system. Some researchers believe that we’re seeing a steady rise over the years due to the increased stress people face in their daily lives.

“Fibromyalgia represents a very severe form of the human energy crisis, where the demand for energy outstrips our body’s ability to keep up,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “When that occurs, we essentially blow a fuse/trip a circuit breaker called the hypothalamus.” That means your brain basically tricks your body into being hypersensitive to stimuli that you normally wouldn’t find painful.

While there’s no known cure for the disease, most medical professionals agree that a combined treatment plan of prescription drugs, a healthy diet, exercise, and enough sleep may help alleviate the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Numerous studies show that regular exercise is key when dealing with fibromyalgia as exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Read on to learn natural treatments for fibromyalgia.