37 Super Real Fibromyalgia Statistics & Facts for 2021
We’re aware that fibromyalgia pain can be scary and frustrating, but don’t be afraid; you’re not alone. Our fibromyalgia statistics will show you just how common this condition really is; how to recognize the symptoms; who suffers the most; and how you can use CBD for fibromyalgia to ease your pain.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions and affects up to 6% of the global population. Nevertheless, doctors are still not completely sure about the various fibromyalgia causes and how it can be cured. What’s more, despite it being a relatively common condition, the signs of fibromyalgia are hard to understand, even for medical professionals, as they’re too similar to other conditions. Luckily, fibromyalgia does not necessarily make you more vulnerable to coronavirus.
But first, take a look at some interesting figures:
Top 10 Fibromyalgia Statistics for 2021
- 5%–7% of the global population suffers from a condition called fibromyalgia.
- The first symptoms start appearing at 28 years of age.
- 30%–70% of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS.
- About 64% of people who have fibromyalgia have experienced trauma as children.
- Up to 90% of fibromyalgia patients report feeling fatigued.
- There are three FDA-approved drugs for fibromyalgia.
- Between 75% and 90% of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are, in fact, women.
- 20 times more men reported having symptoms than receiving the diagnosis.
- Taking 300 milligrams of CBD could ease fibromyalgia-caused anxiety.
- 77.1% of fibromyalgia patients look for medicinal cannabis therapy.
There is currently no cure, but there are some medications that can help ease and control its symptoms.
Keep on reading to find out more about the condition, and consider wearing a purple ribbon to show some support during May (fibromyalgia awareness month).
Fibromyalgia Statistics Worldwide
How many people worldwide have fibromyalgia, and what are its symptoms?
1. 5%–7% of the global population suffers from a condition called fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is not a rare condition, given that 5%–7% of people worldwide suffer from it. What’s more, about 4% of Europeans and North Americans have fibromyalgia.
2. It’s estimated that fibromyalgia affects 3%–6% of the adult US population.
It’s difficult to establish a fibromyalgia diagnosis since this condition causes pain all over the body, along with fatigue, sleep problems, and mental and emotional distress, which is also remarkably similar to other conditions.
In the past, fibromyalgia was considered to be a mental health condition, given that there were no obvious symptoms of other illnesses. We still don’t know what causes this condition, and there is no specific fibromyalgia test that could confirm the diagnosis (as of now).
3. The average age range for diagnosing fibromyalgia is anywhere between 35 to 45.
Additionally, the stats also reveal that the majority of fibromyalgia patients are women.
Plus, despite the average age for diagnosing this illness being 35 to 45 years, patients usually feel the symptoms much earlier in life.
4. The first symptoms start appearing at 28 years of age (on average), fibromyalgia statistics show.
Besides the overall pain, fibromyalgia can also cause so-called “brain fogs” — it makes it difficult for the person to pay attention to things or to find the right words to express their thoughts.
Moreover, fibromyalgia has mental health symptoms in addition to physical ones. Depression, anxiety, nervousness, and even PTSD can be connected to this condition.
5. 2%–4% of the British are affected by this condition.
Fibromyalgia statistics from the UK vary from the estimates that 1 in 20 people and 1 in 50 people suffer from this condition to some degree. Again, it’s hard to tell the correct number, since there are no specific tests.
6. About 81% of people who suffer from fibromyalgia believe that the condition affects their ability to perform their job.
Approximately 30% of people who suffer from this condition qualify as disabled, fibromyalgia disability statistics reveal. In addition, many people who suffer from this condition have such intense pains that they’re unable to either go to work or school or even complete basic tasks around the house.
What’s more, they can be faced with various work-related barriers, like the most common one: the lack of understanding from employers and colleagues.
7. People with fibromyalgia have an increased risk of getting infected with COVID-19 only if they suffer from an autoimmune disease too.
Fibromyalgia and coronavirus statistics imply that the risk of getting infected by the new virus is bigger if the patient with fibromyalgia has an additional autoimmune disease (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).
In a nutshell, the immune system becomes weaker due to the diseases themselves and the DMARDs treatment (disease-modifying drugs), making the patient more vulnerable to the coronavirus. To avoid getting infected, follow the protection guidelines: wash your hands, wear a mask, keep social distance, and don’t touch your face.
8. Coronavirus and fibromyalgia share several similar symptoms.
Both conditions have the same symptoms: pain and body ache, tiredness, diarrhea, and headache. However, coronavirus symptoms also include fever and chills, cough, and shortness of breath. Fibromyalgia’s primary symptoms include widespread pain, fatigue, which can be linked to various sleep disorders, and cognitive difficulties, aka “fibro fog,” or the inability to focus.
Prevalence of Fibromyalgia
What about its prevalence? How common is fibromyalgia among men, women, and children?
9. Between 75% and 90% of people diagnosed with fibromyalgia are, in fact, women.
Men and women experience pain differently. In fact, women are more likely to suffer from pain-related clinical conditions because of their sensitivity to experimental pain. The higher reported prevalence might also be a result of many cultural factors. E.g., fibromyalgia facts show that men will rarely report signs of weakness and pain due to their traditional role in society.
10. About 64% of people who have fibromyalgia have experienced trauma as children.
So far, researchers have discovered that fibromyalgia is a nervous system disorder caused by the “fight or flight” system that is always active. On that note, fibromyalgia facts and statistics also connect this condition to past traumatic experiences, such as abuse, sexual and physical assaults, combats, car accidents, and general violence.
When people go through these experiences, it appears their fibromyalgia gene activates the condition.
11. Studies show that 25% of women with fibromyalgia have been physically abused as children.
The psycho-affective impact of traumatic events greatly contributes to this condition.
However, fibromyalgia doesn’t stem from physical abuse alone, statistics for fibromyalgia in women have also revealed that a lack of parental presence and attention are also likely triggers for fibromyalgia.
12. Up to 90% of fibromyalgia patients report feeling fatigued.
Extreme mental or physical tiredness is one of the signature symptoms of FMS. For some patients, this is even more debilitating and harmful to their everyday life than feeling pain. As CBD can have an uplifting effect, it may be worth trying CBD crystals, or CBD capsules (after consulting with your doctor, of course).
13. Fibromyalgia statistics for men are rather depressing as 20 times more men reported having symptoms than receiving the diagnosis.
In comparison, the frequency for women is three times. There are a few reasons that can be responsible for this issue. First of all, there are no tests for detecting fibromyalgia. Secondly, as mentioned before, there are many stereotypes that “force” men to delay or avoid going to the doctor. In fact, based on one survey, men will wait for 6 months before going to the doctor and reporting having troubles with pain and fibromyalgia.
14. It’s estimated that 33% of people who suffer from fibromyalgia also have a family member who suffers from it.
Researchers have discovered that there’s also the possibility that fibromyalgia runs in the family. Fibromyalgia stats report that your chances of developing the condition are higher if someone in your family suffers from it as well.
However, they still haven’t discovered the genetic markers that are linked to this particular condition.
15. Juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (JPFS) affects 6% of children and adolescents.
JPFS is classified as a pediatric disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system, tender points, and soft tissues, causing pain, fatigue, sleeping problems, headaches, anxiety, and paresthesia.
According to the fibromyalgia population statistics regarding youth, the great majority of people who suffer from juvenile primary fibromyalgia syndrome (83%) are non-Hispanic, and even 84% of the fibromyalgia-affected patients were female.
16. 7% of people between 60 and 79 are likely to suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome.
One study even suggests that older people will more likely suffer from tension, functional headaches, and anxiety, while other fibromyalgia symptoms will be the same, regardless of age (headaches, problems with concentration, fatigue, muscle stiffness).
On that note, it can be more complicated when it comes to treatment due to the variety of medications that the elderly take for different conditions. There’s a risk of interactions that can lead to other side effects.
One of the essential parts of treatment includes exercising. For example, swimming is the best aerobic exercise for older people, because it doesn’t put stress on the joints.
Comorbidities and Fibromyalgia Statistics
How often is fibromyalgia linked to other conditions?
17. It’s estimated that 79.4% of fibromyalgia patients meet the criteria for a depression diagnosis.
Still, after short-term therapy, and a three-month pause, research showed this number drops to about 52.5%. Six months after the therapy, the percentage of people who suffer from fibromyalgia and have clinical criteria for depression is 53.9%.
Not being able to get a diagnosis, having difficulties battling the pain, and seeking help can trigger serious mental health issues, according to fibromyalgia and depression stats.
18. From 1998 to 2017, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center recorded 34 suicide attempts among fibromyalgia patients in one study.
For nine years researchers have studied 8,879 fibromyalgia patients, their symptoms, laboratory values, and so on.
In close to a decade, they have recorded 3,250 cases of self-injury, 34 suicide attempts, and 96 cases of suicide ideation.
Chronic pain can be insufferable, and even though the number of suicide attempts is not huge, as fibromyalgia suicide statistics show, compared to the general population, fibromyalgia patients are ten times more likely to commit suicide if they find their pain too great to bear.
19. Approximately 21% of people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis also suffer from fibromyalgia.
Both arthritis and fibromyalgia are chronic pain conditions, yet they are not the same condition as many people may think.
The main difference is that with rheumatoid arthritis the pain comes and goes, whereas fibromyalgia statistics reveal that the fibromyalgia pain is constant, dull, and it affects the whole body.
20. Fibromyalgia patients have a higher chance of developing heart conditions.
(Upper Cervical Awareness)
Heart palpitations, chest pain, and chest burn are common heart disease symptoms, and can also be symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Because these symptoms are fairly similar, fibromyalgia patients need to pay special attention to their heart condition. Furthermore, a study has found that fibromyalgia patients also have higher chances of suffering a stroke.
21. 30%–70% of fibromyalgia patients also suffer from IBS, fibromyalgia global statistics report.
IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms include abdominal pain, cramps, intolerance to food, diarrhea, and bloating. Like with fibromyalgia, there is no specific test that can determine if someone suffers from IBS. And just like fibromyalgia, IBS is diagnosed when all the other possibilities are ruled out.
22. Restless legs syndrome is 11 times more frequent in fibromyalgia patients.
(Health) (Sleep Foundation)
RLS, aka Willis-Ekbom disease, is a condition associated with unpleasant sensations in the legs and the irrepressible urge to move them. It usually occurs at night, when people are sitting or lying in their bed. As both fibromyalgia and RLS are associated with sensory abnormalities, patients with fibromyalgia often get wrongly diagnosed with RLS and the other way around.
7 Fibromyalgia Facts and Myths
What are the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding fibromyalgia?
23. People only imagine they have fibromyalgia.
Even though this condition has been studied for decades, some people, medical professionals included, believe that fibromyalgia is pure imagination.
However, the condition is clinically recognized, and even the World Health Organization had officially recognized it in 1994.
24. If you suffer from fibromyalgia you need to follow a special diet.
NIH has stated, and fibromyalgia prevalence facts confirm, that there’s no need for a special diet if you are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, because diet restrictions won’t completely ease your symptoms.
Nevertheless, living healthy and having a balanced diet (e.g., consuming the right amount of fruits, veggies, and water) is recommended for overall well-being.
25. This condition only affects middle-aged women.
People believe this because fibromyalgia affects women the most. However, fibromyalgia facts and statistics on age show this condition can affect anyone regardless of their gender, age, and social and cultural backgrounds.
26. Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis doctors use when they don’t know what’s wrong with you.
Fibromyalgia is incredibly hard to diagnose, and some doctors indeed use it as a “wastebasket diagnosis.” Still, there is a list of diagnostic criteria developed by the American College of Rheumatology that is used to diagnose this condition, facts about fibromyalgia imply.
27. Fibromyalgia is a disguised depression or an affective spectrum disorder.
This is a fairly common myth, and even though people who suffer from this condition can develop depression or their depressive disorder can worsen because of fibromyalgia, this condition is not the same as depression.
28. You shouldn’t exercise if you have fibromyalgia, because it could make your condition even worse.
Fibromyalgia statistics from 2020 have already proven that exercise could actually help ease some symptoms and improve the overall health of the patient. The key is to start slowly, do the exercises correctly, and increase the amount and intensity gradually over time.
29. There’s nothing you can do; you just have to learn to live with the condition.
Sure, there’s no known cure for fibromyalgia, and medication often doesn’t work for every person. However, there’s plenty you can do to ease the symptoms.
Sometimes non-pharmacological solutions like exercise, prescription drugs, CBD products, over the counter pain relievers, massage, and meditation, might work even better than medication.
Fibromyalgia Treatment and Alternative Therapies
Is there a way to treat this condition, and which treatments are proven to be helpful?
30. At the moment, there are three FDA-approved drugs for fibromyalgia treatment: pregabalin (Lyrica), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and milnacipran (Savella).
(Mayo Clinic) (Medscape)
Fibromyalgia can be treated with pain relievers, antidepressants, and anti-seizure drugs. The most commonly used prescriptions are pain relievers, from Tylenol and Advil to Aleve. Doctors usually don’t recommend opioid medications since they can lead to addiction and severe side effects.
31. Yoga is a beneficial alternative therapy for fibromyalgia since it can reduce muscular tension.
Not only can it help reduce muscle stiffness, but yoga can also help manage fibro pain, improving spinal alignment, and improving the overall sleep quality. Although there are no special requirements that fibromyalgia patients have to follow, it’s very important to start slowly and simply.
Some of the best yoga poses for fibromyalgia patients are legs up the wall, banana pose, and supine twist.
32. Hydrotherapy is very much recommended for fibromyalgia pain relief.
(NCBI) (Hydromassage Products)
Whereas we still don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, various alternative treatments can help ease its symptoms in addition to the prescribed medication. Hydrotherapy, aka water therapy, is one of them. It can help alleviate fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) by increasing circulation, reducing joint pressure, as well as swelling and inflammation, in addition to promoting relaxation.
With that being said, other beneficial alternative therapies include acupuncture, massage therapy, and tai chi.
Interesting Facts About Fibromyalgia and CBD
Can CBD products help with fibromyalgia? Are there any side effects? Is THC just as helpful?
33. CBD benefits sleep in 30% of epilepsy patients, which could prove helpful for fibromyalgia patients as well.
People who suffer from this condition often have trouble falling or staying asleep.
Another study with healthy volunteers also discovered that large doses of CBD have no such effect on healthy people. This led to a theory concerning fibromyalgia in 2019 suggesting that using CBD as a treatment for fibromyalgia could have similar results.
34. Taking 300 milligrams of CBD could ease fibromyalgia-caused anxiety.
Another study revealed that taking 300 mg of CBD (orally) leads to major drops in anxiety levels.
Since it’s scientifically proven that depression and anxiety are present in 80% of chronic pain conditions, CBD oil for fibromyalgia could be a way of alleviating the symptoms of this condition; more studies are needed, though.
35. Fibromyalgia statistics from 2019 show that medical marijuana for fibromyalgia may reduce pain in women with fibromyalgia by 30%.
A Dutch study from 2019 researched the effects of CBD on fibromyalgia. Scientists discovered that both the placebo and non-placebo CBD varieties had the same effect regarding pain management.
Nevertheless, they also discovered that women who used Bediol — medicinal marijuana high in both CBD and THC content — had a 30% decrease in pain levels.
36. Medicinal cannabis has improved the overall health of 81.1% of fibromyalgia patients, as the statistics on the number of people with fibromyalgia state in one study.
A study with 367 people suffering from fibromyalgia revealed that more than 80% of participants claimed that they have felt an overall improvement in health after they’ve been given medicinal cannabis for their condition.
Scientists have come to the conclusion that medicinal cannabis is an effective and safe treatment for the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
37. Fun facts about fibromyalgia and CBD reveal that 77.1% of fibromyalgia patients look for medicinal cannabis therapy.
(Pain Medicine News)
More than three-quarters of people who suffer from this condition look for medicinal cannabis as a form of therapy for their illness.
Research in Israel has discovered that 87.2% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from chronic pain on a daily basis. In addition, researchers have also found that the median length of fibromyalgia symptoms is seven years — hence why more than 77% of fibromyalgia patients turn to CBD and medicinal cannabis, which were clinically proven to alleviate the symptoms.
The Bottom Line
The majority of people can’t even imagine what it must be like to live in constant pain. And even though doctors and researchers still haven’t found the cure, this list of statistics and facts shows that millions of people fight this condition on a daily basis. Don’t lose hope, since science may yet make progress (or a breakthrough) in the treatment for this disorder. Perhaps the answer lies in CBD (or even THC)? Whatever the case, the benefits of CBD are there; new fibromyalgia statistics will tell if it’s an effective future treatment.
If you or someone you care about suffers from this condition, seek help from a professional, support groups, and your friends and family, because there is always a way to fight the pain.
Is fibromyalgia real?
Yes, without a doubt. Fibromyalgia is a very real and serious medical condition, even though its causes are still relatively unknown. Millions of adults and children suffer from it all around the world, and there is currently no cure, just medications that could alleviate some of the symptoms. People who suffer from this condition deal with many challenges and pain that often interfere with their day-to-day lives.
Is Fibromyalgia considered a rare disease?
No, fibromyalgia is not a rare disease. By definition (Orphan Drug Act 1983), a rare disease affects fewer than 200,000 people in the US. Given that about 2 million Americans suffer from this condition, it’s safe to say that fibromyalgia is not one of the rare diseases. The same goes for the
Simply put, fibromyalgia is a widespread condition that’s hard to diagnose due to its similarity to other conditions. Since there are no specific tests, doctors first need to rule out other diseases before diagnosing someone with fibromyalgia.
What percentage of the population has fibromyalgia?
5%–7% of the global population suffers from fibromyalgia, in addition to 3%–6% of the adult US population, and 2%–4% of the British population. Although this condition’s first symptoms can start at 28, most people are diagnosed with fibromyalgia when they are 35–45 years old. Not to mention that 7% of people between 60 and 79 will likely suffer from this condition.
What is the life expectancy of someone with fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is not a life-threatening condition, and as such, it won’t reduce the patient’s life expectancy. However, people who suffer from this condition do feel outstanding amounts of pain, which puts them at higher risk of eventually committing suicide.
Another thing that’s disturbing is the high prevalence of depression among fibromyalgia patients. In fact, one study showed that about 79.4% of them meet the depression criteria when first diagnosed.
What are the most severe symptoms of fibromyalgia?
The main symptom is the overall pain in the body, but there are many other symptoms that can come and go and intensify with time.
Some of them include muscle spasm, extreme tiredness, fatigue, sleep problems, extreme sensitivity to pain (especially in the neck or back), sensitivity to bright light, smoke, foods; headaches and migraines, IBS, trouble with focus and concentration (aka “fibro fog”), and more.
What can be mistaken for fibromyalgia?
Many other diseases and conditions can mimic fibromyalgia. For example, various medications and parasite infections could cause muscle pain, as well as vitamin deficiencies.
Moreover, rheumatic arthritis and growth hormone deficiency can also cause symptoms similar to fibromyalgia.
Other conditions that may also look like fibromyalgia, since they have similar symptoms, include hypermobility syndrome, widespread burns, and whiplash associated disorders, according to various fibromyalgia statistics.