May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, so it’s an excellent time to learn more about this chronic and incurable disease that affects so many Americans. If you are a family caregiver with an elderly relative, you should pay extra attention because they may need your help to identify the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Although there is no cure for fibromyalgia, there are numerous treatment options for seniors to help improve their quality of life.
Here are some frequently asked questions about fibromyalgia, especially as the disease relates to seniors:
Q: What causes fibromyalgia?
A: Fibromyalgia is somewhat of a mystery in the medical community because researchers don’t know what causes it. They do know that the disease is more common in middle-age and elderly women and that it a lifelong condition. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for fibromyalgia and doctors and patients can only manage the symptoms to improve quality of life.
Q: What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
A: The symptoms of fibromyalgia primarily include chronic pain all over the body. Other common symptoms include stiff joints, aching muscles, headaches, and widespread tenderness. Certain other symptoms may appear including fatigue, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, and insomnia. Numb hands and feet may also be linked to fibromyalgia, as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Because these symptoms are common for other conditions, fibromyalgia often goes undiagnosed in elderly adults.
Q: Why is fibromyalgia so serious in the elderly?
A: Because many elderly adults are also subject to other chronic health conditions and age-related illnesses, it can be difficult to diagnose fibromyalgia and more challenging to treat it. These other existing conditions may also make the symptoms of fibromyalgia worse. Doctors must take all these health concerns into consideration when they put together a treatment plan.
Q: How is fibromyalgia treated in the elderly?
A: Adjusting lifestyle behaviors is the most effective way to manage the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia. Seniors can get help from family members and elderly care providers to get more exercise, improve nutrition, and reduce stress. Sometimes doctors will prescribe medicine for pain relief that include muscle relaxers, pain relievers, and antidepressants.
Q: How can elderly care providers help seniors with fibromyalgia?
A: There are days when elderly people depend on others to help with the most basic daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, housekeeping, cooking, and driving. Elderly care providers can remind seniors when to take their medicine, prepare healthy meals, and encourage them to get up and exercise. Elderly care providers can also work with the elderly adult to ensure they get adequate sleep. Seniors that have lots of support are usually better able to manage their fibromyalgia.
If you have a loved one who could benefit from elderly care in Danville, CA, contact the caregivers at A Better Living Home Care Agency. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care. Call 925-566-2366 for more information.