Written answers

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Department of Health

Disease Management

Photo of Denis NaughtenDenis Naughten (Roscommon-Galway, Independent)
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362. To ask the Minister for Health if he will designate fibromyalgia as a rare disease; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28419/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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A ‘rare disease’ is defined in Europe as a life-threatening or chronically debilitating disease affecting no more than 5 people per 10,000. There are an estimated 6-8,000 known rare diseases affecting up to 6% of the total EU population, (at least 30 million Europeans), and perhaps up to 300,000 Irish people during their lives.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Fibromyalgia is a common illness. It is more common than Rheumatoid Arthritis. People with mild to moderate cases of fibromyalgia are usually able to live life as normal.

It is estimated that fibromyalgia affects nearly 1 in 20 people across the globe. Anyone can develop fibromyalgia, although the condition affects more women than men. In most cases, fibromyalgia occurs between 30 and 60 years of age, but it can develop in people of any age, including children and the elderly. Fibromyalgia does not meet the criteria above for a rare disease and is not classified as one.


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