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Disease Information

A-C    D-F    G-I    J-L    M-O   P-R    S-U   V-Z



Degenerative Disk Disease:  (DDD) (DJD) Degenerative Disk is not an auotimmune illness.  Technically it is a form of osteoarthritis that affects the spine causes the disks to degenerate and frequently herniate.  Stenosis often occurs causing a narrowing of the spinal opening.  In severe cases this can lead to impingement of the spinal chord itself.  When pressure to the chord develops, paralysis is a possibility and surgical intervention becomes necessary.  Milder cases can often be treated conservatively.


Fibromyalgia:  (FM) (FMS) FM is a chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is unknown. Fibromyalgia means pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons-the fibrous tissues in the body. In addition to pain and fatigue, other symptoms include unrefreshed sleep, irritable bowel, chronic headaches, morning stiffness, cognitive or memory impairments, reduced coordination and decreased endurance.
Although pain and fatigue are the two major symptoms of FMS, other symptoms vary from individual to individual. They include: Muscular Pain: 100% Fatigue: 96% Insomnia: 86% Joint Pain: 72% Headaches: 60% Restless Legs: 56% Numbness and Tingling: 52% Impaired Memory: 46% Leg Cramps: 42% Impaired Concentration: 41% Nervousness: 32% Major Depression: 20% (3).
In 1990 the newly established diagnostic criteria for FM stated that a patient had to have a history of widespread pain for at least three months and pain in at least 11 of the 18 specifically located tender points. These along with other symptoms help distinguish FM from other conditions.
There is no cure for FM. Current treatments vary from patient to patient, but normally work towards improving sleep and eliminating pain.
Doctors recommend: low doses of medicines that increase levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that regulate sleep, pain and immune system function), non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs for pain, trigger point injections with lidocaine, physical therapy, acupuncture & acupressure, relaxation techniques, and gentle exercise.
Since the onset of FMS can be abrupt, a person life can be virtually completely altered in a very short period of time. The majority of FMS suffers are physically active, high achievers who live very productive lives. From the onset of the illness, the pain and fatigue impair a person from living the life they are accustom to. Many FMers have to stop working, quit doing physical activities and even become socially isolated. The pain and fatigue can place a person in bed unable to function. The emotional ramifications are many. Getting a diagnosis can be difficult, so that causes a reaction of great fear and frustration. Many patients are made to feel like "it's their fault", which undermines their self confidence and overall attitudes. People don't like being around a person who is chronically ill, so many lose the support of friends and family. Because of the lack of information about this disease most patients are unable to get any kind of disability. Supporting one's self becomes a major concern. Learning to live with irritating symptoms like constant pain, ringing in your ears, muscle spasms, concentration problems, and insomnia can be overwhelming. A sufferer of FM has to learn a completely new way of life.