A group which supports and helps those with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS in Orkney will be in the foyer of the Town Hall Kirkwall on Saturday 12th May from 11 am to raise awareness of their work. Known as F.A.M.E. (Orkney Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS Support Group) some of its members will be on hand to provide you with information and answer your questions.
Fibromyalgia, also called fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:
- increased sensitivity to pain
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- muscle stiffness
- difficulty sleeping
- problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”) – such as problems with memory and concentration
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. The most common symptom is extreme tiredness.
CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
CFS/ME can affect anyone, including children. It’s more common in women, and tends to develop between your mid-20s and mid-40s.
The main symptom of CFS/ME is feeling extremely tired and generally unwell.
In addition, people with CFS/ME may have other symptoms, including:
- sleep problems
- muscle or joint pain
- a sore throat or sore glands that aren’t swollen
- problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
- flu-like symptoms
- feeling dizzy or sick
- fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
Most people find over exercising makes their symptoms worse.
The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, or even within a day.
It was described to the Orkney News thus:
“Fibromyalgia is pain with fatigue and ME/CFS is Fatigue with pain
To clarify pain is not the sort of pain you get with a headache or even broken arm, it is the unrelenting pain you get when you would rather die than go on.
Similar with fatigue, it is not the type of fatigue you get after working 16 hours straight. It is unrelenting exhaustion that is not lessened by resting or sleeping. Exhaustion to the point that it causes cognitive impairment and injury.
Why do these illnesses matter? Because there are many sufferers in Orkney. According to NHS data, approximately 500. In ME/CFS alone 25% of patients are bed-bound.
These illnesses are not life shortening in themselves, however studies have shown that sufferers do die earlier from other conditions, be it heart failure, pneumonia of cancer. Effectively patients do not die early of Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, they die early with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS.”
Related story: Fibromyalgia May Affect 1 in 20 People
Facebook page for Orkney support group F.A.M.E.