Michael Hastings may not be a name thats on the tip of your tongue (he had a small recurring part on The West Wing as Captain Mike), but that obscurity is far less painful to him than his diagnosis of fibromyalgia, a neurological pain disorder that forced his retirement from acting.
If hes the only guy youve heard of who has fibro, youre not alone. Some health-insurance companies refuse to accept the diagnosis; some doctors wont diagnose it; and some men dont believe they have it. No wonder a new study reveals that 20 times more men are dealing with this mysterious condition than have been diagnosed.
Why is this?
First, nine out of 10 diagnosed sufferers are women; second, because of hormone differences, mens symptoms typically are different in duration, location and degree of pain than womens; third, men are reluctant to go see a doctor for hard-to-pin-down aches and pains; and fourth, ads targeting lack of energy imply that men have low testosterone. Wrong diagnosis.
So, guys, if you have chronic pain not caused by injury, arthritis or another disorder and youre fatigued despite sleep, heres what we suggest:
Find a doctor who will take your complaints seriously; the National Fibromyalgia Association can help.
If youre diagnosed, start treatment with prescribed medications and lifestyle changes. Massage, meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy work. And push yourself to get plenty of physical activity.
The medical community finally is getting hip to how many men suffer needlessly with this condition; let them help you.
The You Docs Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic are authors of YOU: Losing Weight. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com. A King Features syndicate.