ROCKLIN, Calif., March 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a unique approach that compares the attitudes of people living with fibromyalgia with those of the general public, the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) in partnership with Forest Laboratories Inc. today released results from two new national surveys, revealing substantial differences between public perceptions and the private realities of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that affects up to 12 million Americans.
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The survey shows that people with fibromyalgia inaccurately believe the public views them negatively. Forty-one percent of the general public believes people with fibromyalgia are courageous, while only 17 percent of people who have the condition believe society actually views them this way.
"Imagine, for some people living with fibromyalgia, having to deal with a persistent pain condition while feeling isolated from society," says Penney Cowan, founder and executive director of ACPA and someone who has lived with fibromyalgia. "These survey results show that some people with fibromyalgia have misperceptions about how society views them, and our hope is that they learn about these findings and feel empowered to speak openly about their experiences with this condition."The two surveys also reveal that while 92 percent of the general population has heard of fibromyalgia, many do not understand the challenges the condition may pose for those living with it. For example, what some may consider simple everyday tasks, such as driving, sitting for long periods and doing household chores are, in reality, difficult for people living with fibromyalgia. In fact, 67 percent of people with fibromyalgia symptoms report they are not satisfied with their ability to carry out their normal routines, yet more than half delay seeking help from a healthcare professional. "Many people in the general population have misperceptions about the impact fibromyalgia can have on people's lives," says Cowan. "This lack of understanding may lead people with fibromyalgia to delay seeking help and receiving an accurate diagnosis. However, the good news is that people with fibromyalgia, along with their healthcare provider, can learn to manage their condition."
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