Many of you are aware that I took a lot of time compiling a list of 200+ Symptoms of Fibromyalgia and Co-existing conditions. If you haven’t seen the list and would like to check it out, feel free to click here. One of the symptoms listed is “occasional dyslexia.” This symptom is up for discussion today.
Recently, one of my wonderful readers emailed me to let me know that the term “occasional dyslexia” is offensive to the people who have dyslexia, because actual dyslexia is constant and doesn’t go away.” No one has occasional dyslexia, you either have dyslexia or not.” I appreciate the fact that she took the time to let me know and I even understand the distinction and agree!
I am struggling to figure out what to say instead to describe a very difficult symptom of Fibromyalgia that is so similar to dyslexia though. Out of respect for my reader and for everyone else with dyslexia, I have changed the symptom on the blog post to read “139. Dyslexia-type symptoms occasionally.”
I haven’t changed it in the PDF yet though, because I’m not sure this is the best wording for it either. I am looking for input on the best wording for this symptom, because I do not want to minimize the struggle someone who has dyslexia in anyway, but I also don’t want to minimize a symptom that many people with Fibro have experienced including myself.
So today, I want to explore the symptom a bit and see what you suggest for expressing this very real, common, and frustrating symptom of Fibromyalgia.
Let’s start with the learning difficulty called dyslexia. Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder that makes learning to read, write, spell, and sometimes speak difficult. It is a genetic problem and is NOT caused by any physical problem like eyesight, hearing, low intelligence, poor teaching, or emotional disturbances (although of course someone can have dyslexia and one or more of these other issues as well). Dyslexia cannot be cured and does not go away, but appropriate teaching can help people with dyslexia reach their full potential.
Difficulties with letters, words, reading, writing for Fibro
The symptom formerly called “occasional dyslexia” for Fibromyalgia mirrors some of the same characteristics of dyslexia like transposing letters, difficulty reading, and mixing up letters when looking at them or when writing. This symptom is believed to be a part of the “brain fog” or cognitive issues many people with Fibromyalgia deal with on a daily basis. The big difference between actual dyslexia and the symptom people with Fibromyalgia have is that it goes away for people with Fibromyalgia and simply doesn’t occur all of the time.
For people with Fibromyalgia, the brain is sending confused messages, making translating words or writing or reading difficult. Some theories as to what may cause the specific issue with words include lack of sleep, pain, brain fog, brain wiring, depression, underperforming thyroid, and side effect of medications.
A few studies, nothing conclusive though
There are also some people who have Fibromyalgia and dyslexia. According to one informal study, about 9% of people with Fibromyalgia also have actual dyslexia. Some research is being done to determine if they are interrelated.
A few small studies confirm that fibro fog and the cognitive dysfunction that comes with it is real and not just memory loss due to getting older. One study found that people with Fibromyalgia scored below average when asked to recall words from a list. Additionally, many scientists believe that pain is a contributing factor when it comes to memory problems and other issues including brain fog and dyslexia-like symptoms.
How should I word the symptom?
So I ask, what would be a better way to describe this symptom? I’ve considered “acquired dyslexia,” “symptoms mirroring dyslexia” and “dyslexia-type symptoms occasionally”.
What do you recommend?
“Autism/ADHD/Dyslexia and Brain Wiring…Fibromyalgia and Brain Wiring??” Women and Fibromyalgia. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2014. <http://womenandfibromyalgia.com/2010/02/07/autismadhddyslexia-and-brain-wiring-fibromyalgia-and-brain-wiring/>.
“Can Fibromyalgia Affect My Memory?” - Mental Effects of Fibromyalgia. Sharecare, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://www.sharecare.com/health/fibromyalgia-mental-effects/fibromyalgia-affect-memory>.
“Review: Could Fibromyalgia Cause Dyslexia?” Could Fibromyalgia Cause Dyslexia (Developmental Reading Disorder). EHealthme, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014. <http://www.ehealthme.com/cs/fibromyalgia/dyslexia>.