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Fibromyalgia is a condition that is best described as widespread chronic pain and is associated with cognitive dysfunction, especially memory loss. A recent study confirmed the link between fibromyalgia and cognitive decline. The patients complain of memory loss and feel like they are in a fog. Currently, the American Academy of Rheumatology includes cognitive dysfunction on its list of diagnostic criteria, as “fiber fog.”
Fibromyalgia: Men Versus Women
Essentially, fibromyalgia is chronic and extensive pain that cannot be explained by other problems, such as muscle damage, herniated disc, arthritis, or autoimmune disease.
An individual who is facing this condition might experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Ongoing pain in multiple parts of the body, such as the buttocks, thighs, neck, and back
- Chronic fatigue, even after a good night of sleep
- Cognitive problems, such as concentration or memory decline
- Dry eyes
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Hair loss
- Frequent urination and other problems
- Diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems
Symptoms vary in intensity, but many people find that stress, exhaustion, and illness make symptoms worse. Due to the chronicity and generalized nature of the pain, the type of pain is not necessarily relevant for the diagnosis. To some it can cause disability for a short period of time and for others it can become disabling for life.
You can apply for Short Term Disability benefits transient, comes and goes, or lasts for durations shorter than a year. While the SSA does not administer any short-term disability programs, you may be eligible for a state or employer-sponsored program. A knowledgeable attorney can explain your available options.
Contributing Factors and Signs of “fibro fog”
Patients are often found to describe fibromyalgia and its effect on cognitive functioning in different ways. Some patients call it “fog,” while others say they feel like they have been taking cold medicine. Most importantly, it is difficult for them to remember things, find words, and stay alert.
The following are some typical but terrifying symptoms of fiber fog:
- Misplaced objects
- Difficulty in dialogue
- Unable to remember new information
- Forgetting plans
- Easy to be distracted
So Why Does This Happen More in Women?
This is a question that many patients and scientists repeatedly ask. Since women are affected more, these cognitive challenges are also faced by women to a greater extent.
Although we know what the symptoms of fiber fog are, we are not sure what causes fiber fog. However, medical researchers have some reliable data.
Some people with this condition experience mild pain and higher cognitive function while others experience moderate discomfort. There is still a group of patients who experience periods of extreme pain and lower cognitive function. You may have heard of people with fibromyalgia who are completely bedridden. Moderate to severe pain can cause fatigue, and fatigue can affect the way the brain works.
Here are some other possible factors:
- Insufficient sleep
- The distraction caused by pain
- Premature aging
- Abnormal cranial blood flow
- Abnormal cranial blood volume
Depression is also common in these patients. Depression has long been know to be related to memory problems.
Symptoms in Women
Women often have more severe or different symptoms than men. Those who are experiencing this condition can seek disability for fibromyalgia when their condition gets bad enough to prevent them from maintaining gainful employment.
Women are more likely to experience:
- Morning fatigue
- General aches and pains
- Specific symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS
- Unusually painful menstruation
Fibromyalgia can affect the menstrual cycle. Menstruation can be heavier, and women may experience severe dysmenorrhea, which is the medical term for painful menstrual periods which are caused by uterine contractions.
Many women do not have any problems during pregnancy, but in some cases, pregnancy can make symptoms worse. In addition, this condition can cause increased fatigue and mood swings, which are already common during pregnancy. Please consult your doctor about fibromyalgia and pregnancy because some medications can affect the development of the fetus.
- Tender points
Tender points refer to 18 tender areas or points along with nine parts of the body. These points are in pairs and are located on both sides of the spinal column. Not all people with this condition have tender points, but they can help distinguish fibromyalgia from other painful conditions. Women with fibromyalgia are more likely to have tender points than men. These tender points are located at:
- On the lower part of the head, intersecting the neck
- Between the lower part of the neck and the tip of the shoulder
- Where the muscles are connected to the back: The scapula on each forearm.
- The crease near the elbow
- Just above the clavicle
- Below the clavicle on the side of the sternum
- Just above the skeletal part of the outer hip
- Shallow back, upper hip
- Inner knee
Disability Benefits Provide Financial Support
These symptoms can make it impossible to work, but people with this condition may find it challenging to establish entitlement to benefits on their own. This is because the severity and frequency of symptoms vary from patient to patient and this condition is challenging to diagnose.
The Social Security Administration defines disability as a condition that prevents you from participating in any “profitable activity” and is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death. Since it is a chronic disease with no known cure, this definition should qualify for benefits. Therefore, provided you submit supporting documentation, you should be eligible for benefits. Contact Disability Lawyers to improve your chances of being granted benefits and for assistance throughout the entire process.
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