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Fibromyalgia and Fatigue: New Treatment Centers Answer the Call

  [ 374 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • December 10, 2004

By Dr. Mona (CBS 11 News)

...You've probably been told at one time or another that you're depressed. But now a condition that's been around for decades is beginning to receive much-deserved awareness and treatment. That's welcome news for the thousands of North Texans who have it. Carla Arledge never thought her life would come unglued in her 40's, after a car wreck and meningitis. "I was never feeling good, energy level was low and I was being treated for depression but I was still miserable," said Carla. "I hurt all the time." Then she hit rock bottom. "It's horrible enough to want to end your life," said Carla.

Dr. Larry Sharp understood just what Carla was going through and he put a name to it. Fibromyalgia. Experts say this condition strikes 10 million American women. As the numbers grow, specialized treatment centers are sprouting. There are currently 6 Fibromyalgia and Fatigue centers nationwide, another 14 are planned to open by the end of next year. It's a condition that has gone underdiagnosed, undertreated and is not well understood. "People are like an onion," said Larry Sharp, D.O. "There's a deep layer with heavy metal toxicity, exposure to chemicals and viruses, and then finally the last thing...maybe a car wreck...dumps them down into the illness." The symptoms of fibromyalgia are vague -- body aches, fatigue, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome and sleep disorder," said Mona Khanna, M.D., Medical Correspondent, CBS 11 News. "Many patients have thyroid, growth hormone, immune and blood clotting abnormalities. But the diagnosis can only be made if..." have at least 3 months of widespread pain, and tenderness or pain in 11 of 18 specific body points. And most patients have triggers -- like Carla's car wreck and meningitis.

Through trial and error, Carla says what works is pain medication, exercise band therapy, lots of water, massage, and supplements. She's also fueled by her desire to help other fibromyalgia patients. "One of these days i'm going to be an advocate for this illness," said Carla. "I've been to hell and back with it." If you seek treatment for fibromyalgia, set modest goals at the start. Take baby steps like light exercise, socializing with friends and family and get proper nutrition. And even though depression may not be a primary diagnosis, some fibromyalgia patients have been able to elevate their mood with anti-depressant medications. For more information, go to Source: CBS 11 News. Online at © MMIV, CBS Broadcasting Inc., All Rights Reserved.

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