Sunday May 12th 2013 - International ME, CFS and FM Awareness Day
For our awareness day, I thought I would collate some interesting and sometimes surprising bits and pieces of information.
- Chronic widespread pain combined with fatigue has been described in literature dating back to the early 19th century. However, it was only in 1990 that the American College of Rheumatology published the first official classification criteria for Fibromyalgia.
- The first time the term "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" entered medical literature was in 1987.
- An outbreak of a disease closely resembling CFS/ME at the Royal Free Hospital in London in 1955 led to the condition being known as "Royal Free disease" for many years.
- Many researchers think Fibromyalgia and CFS/ME are closely related due to high rates of co-morbidity.
- Both conditions are surprisingly common - Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 1 in 20 of the world's population, whilst there is an estimate of 250,000 cases of CFS/ME in the UK alone.
- Common co-morbidities for both conditions include: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Interstitial Cystitis, migraines, depression, anxiety, Restless Leg Syndrome and dysmenhorrea.
The blue awareness ribbon supports CFS/ME, the purple supports Fibromyalgia. You'll probably be seeing a fair bit of both around today.
There are lots of easy ways to get involved in the Awareness Day. Many groups on Facebook including Fibro Colours and the official May 12th page have made posters which can be easily shared, including those aimed at supporters of those who are ill as well as sufferers themselves.
There's even a Facebook page here aiming to gain 10,000 likes so we can have a Google Doodle to mark next year's awareness day. Give it a click!
More consciously, we ask people to wear purple or blue on May 12th to mark the day. You'll have to take my word for it that I'm wearing purple pants!
The Fibro Colours Facebook page also has awareness bracelets for sale, and you can find plenty of awareness clothing, accessories and more on both Cafepress and Zazzle. More broadly, I recently found Spoons necklaces and earrings on Etsy.
And now for something completely different....
I'm hoping I'm not the only one who has caught wind of this because it's absolutely brilliant, but for those who didn't know Niagara Falls will be lit up in blue for 15 minutes at 21:45 local time for CFS/ME, and then in purple at 22:15 for a further fifteen minutes for Fibromyalgia. Unfortunately this takes place at around 3 in the morning UK time, but it's still a nice thing to know about.
Wishing you all a happy May 12th!