Superstar singer/pop star Lady Gaga went to social media to tell the world that she has long struggled with fibromyalgia.

The news has put the painful and poorly understood illness center stage.

The singer, song-writer announced on Twitter that she's postponed the European leg of her 2017 "Joanne" concert tour due to what she described as fibromyalgia-related "trauma and chronic pain."

Live Nation said in a statement at that time, "Unfortunately, Lady Gaga is suffering from severe pain that has materially impacted her ability to perform live. As a result, Live Nation and Lady Gaga are announcing the cancellation of the final 10 dates of the European leg of her Joanne World Tour. Last night, with strong support from her medical team, Lady Gaga made the tough decision to immediately come off the road."

Fibromyalgia, or fibromyalgia syndrome, is a condition that causes aches and pain all over the body. People with fibromyalgia often experience other symptoms, such as extreme tiredness or sleeping, mood, or memory problems. Fibromyalgia affects more women than men. The pain, extreme tiredness, and lack of sleep that fibromyalgia causes can affect your ability to work or do daily activities. Treatment can help relieve pain and help prevent flare-ups of symptoms. It’s also one of the most misunderstood health and pain issues. The most common myth, doctors say, is that fibromyalgia is “all in your head.”

“Many of those with fibromyalgia are afraid that the culture does not believe that fibromyalgia is a real disease. And they are afraid people will label them as ‘lazy’,” says rheumatologist Carmen Gota, MD of the Cleveland Clinic. “There’s an issue of credibility that can cause a lot of stress for them.”

It’s easy for people to understand that recovering from surgery or a broken bone is painful. But it’s harder to grasp the generalized pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia.

“Even if people don’t see the cause of the pain, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real,” Dr. Gota says.

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To help with this, she suggests that fibromyalgia patients arm themselves with the facts about their condition and share it with others.

But Cleveland Clinic psychologist Sara Davin, PsyD cautions against expending too much energy trying to convince others. “Realize that their response might vary from what you want, but that you can’t control that. You can control how you let it affect you,” she says.

Details of Lady Gaga’s health issues and her future are unclear. In December 2017, Gaga announced plans for a massive Las Vegas residency that will see the singer performing 74 concerts at MGM's Park Theater. It's unclear whether her latest setback will postpone that residency, scheduled to begin in late 2018.

The National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) indicates that the illness affects up to 4 percent of the world's population, and anywhere from 5 million to 10 million Americans. It is much more common among women, who account for 80 percent of patients. Although it can affect children, it is most often diagnosed during middle age.

The disorder is characterized by persistent, widespread pain, fatigue, un-refreshing sleep, memory loss, poor concentration and other symptoms and can often lead to Long-Term Care as a person gets older.

Many people can deal with their condition and lead a normal life. Others have increased pain and complications. Advance planning for long-term care is key before your health changes, or if you have a condition like fibromyalgia that it is stable and well controlled when you apply for coverage.

Often people forget that health changes as we age. The costs and burdens resulting from longevity and aging and health issues impact more than just your savings. Often, Long-Term Care Insurance cannot only safeguard your retirement accounts from ease the tremendous burdens placed on loved ones once these issues impact your ability to perform normal living activities or your memory.

Experts suggest planning before you retire and seek the help of a Long-Term Care specialist who is well versed on underwriting and policy design.

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