Who has fibromyalgia? It might not be who you think

PR Newswire

ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —¬†You’ve probably seen the many commercials for fibromyalgia drugs on TV. They usually feature middle-aged women, describing unexplained aches and pains. Although fibromyalgia most often affects adults, it can also develop in childhood and go undiagnosed for years in patients who often suffer in silence.

According to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) typically develops between the ages of 13 and 15, although the symptoms can develop much earlier. Children and teens with JPFS feel pain that interferes with daily life and often have difficulty sleeping. Although it’s not entirely clear how many children are affected by JPFS, the ACR estimates that it is anywhere between 2 percent and 7.5 percent of children in North America and Europe.

The symptoms can be so severe that adolescents with JPFS miss a lot of time in school and withdraw from social activities. The Journal of Pediatric Psychology recently reported that the rate of homeschooling among teens with fibromyalgia was more than 10 percent higher than the national average of about 2 percent.

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