I was diagnosed with Rosacea about 12 years ago and ever since then I have wondered if it is common for people with ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia to develop this skin condition. According to the National Rosacea Society, Rosacea affects approximately 14 million Americans and it is a poorly understood disorder of the facial skin. The National Rosacea Society has an excellent description for Rosacea:
Rosacea (pronounced “roh-ZAY-sha”) is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Many have observed that it typically begins any time after age 30 as a redness on the cheeks, nose, chin or forehead that may come and go. In some cases, rosacea may also occur on the neck, chest, scalp or ears. Over time, the redness tends to become ruddier and more persistent, and visible blood vessels may appear. Left untreated, bumps and pimples often develop, and in severe cases the nose may grow swollen and bumpy from excess tissue. This is the condition, called rhinophyma (pronounced “rhi-no-FY-muh”), that gave the late comedian W.C. Fields his trademark bulbous nose. In many rosacea patients, the eyes are also affected, feeling irritated and appearing watery or bloodshot.
I was still in my twenties when I was diagnosed and it was during a very stressful time in my life. My husband (boyfriend at that time) had just had triple bypass surgery. After that my face was never the same again.
The cause of Rosacea is yet to be discovered, but one theory is that it is caused by an inflammatory pathways that have been identified in recent ongoing research — including an immune response triggered by a type of antimicrobial protein known as cathelicidin.
There is also inflammatory issues in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS patients and it is believed that triggers for these illnesses can also be due to the immune system overreacting. So is it possible that there is a link? I would love to hear how many other ME/CFS & Fibromyalgia patients out there have Rosacea.
For more information on Rosacea, signs, symptoms and treatments, please visit the National Rosacea Society.