This morning I was exploring the latest developments and research concerning fibromyalgia. When I am struggling, it makes me feel better to see what is new and cutting edge.
The basic lines on fibromyalgia from the Mayo Clinic: “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.”
“Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.” (mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ fibromyalgia)
I am reminded that there is a delicate balance happening in our brains between electrical and chemical processes. Whatever we can do to keep all of that in balance and functioning well is vital.
Diet, rest, exercise, stress, and environment all make a huge difference. I eat gluten free and low carb to curb symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness takes a lot of focus to keep symptoms in check.
Beyond the basics of fatigue, widespread pain, and cognitive issues, there are additional symptoms that vary from person to person with fibromyalgia. The weird ones are almost worse like interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome). Very annoying. Hard to sleep when I am up and down all night and feel like I have a kidney or bladder infection all the time.
I have trouble with migraines and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, and temperature. Recently, I realized my chemical sensitivities are affecting my life much more than in the past, so I was researching the symptom this morning. I found this article that describes it perfectly.
“I first noticed an intolerance to cleaning products. As the years have gone on, I have had to make adjustments in what laundry detergent I use, as well as lotions, body and face wash, and deodorant.
I had to stop wearing perfume, and rid my home of air fresheners and fabric softeners. I also have found that it is imperative for me to avoid cigarette smoke, certain types of paint and insecticide.” (newlifeoutlook.com/fibromyalgia-chemical-sensitivity)
Chemical exposure creates horrible headaches, nausea, feeling faint, sweating, stomach issues, and fatigue. My fatigue is so profound I have to lie down for a while. I avoid as many environmental chemicals as possible in my daily life. When I visit other homes, I take an air filter so that I can breathe and sleep better.
If I am honest, it is easier to avoid people than to try to explain the whole thing. I still visit, but I try to keep my symptoms to myself.
The second change I have noticed is that I have an extreme low tolerance beyond one alcoholic drink.
It started years ago, but I am not much of a drinker, so I didn’t take note of it until now. My brain, alcohol, and fibromyalgia do not mix. Add a low carb diet and alcohol is a no win situation.
So far, I haven’t found much more than anecdotal evidence to support my assertion, but nevertheless, I have an intolerance for alcohol that developed alongside my fibromyalgia pain onset. Two drinks or beyond that and I get intensely ill, have memory loss, and feel sick and flu like for days. Pretty good reason not to have more than one or two glasses. Red wine or mixed drinks are the worst. I am a wine drinker and love it
While looking for articles on the subject of alcohol and fibromyalgia, I found some great articles on the latest fibromyalgia research published in 2019.
The first was an article on a study that documented inflammation in the brain of fibromyalgia patients.
“A study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers — collaborating with a team at the Karolinska Institutete in Sweden — has documented for the first time widespread inflammation in the brains of patients with the poorly understood condition called fibromyalgia. Their report has been published online in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity.”
Remember the delicate balance? Inflammation in the brain is never a good thing. Read “Is your brain on fire? Symptoms of brain inflammation” from functional health minute for more understanding of this issue. I am not surprised by this discovery of inflammation in the brain. What else could explain all the symptoms like hallucinations and pain completely out of proportion to the stimuli? Flashing lights, inexplicable auditory symptoms, and inability to function in certain environments scream pressure on the brain.
The third article I thought was interesting is about a new blood test for fibromyalgia.
It won’t be available for a few years if all goes well, but for a disorder that could not be measured this could be a breakthrough.
“Experimental blood test accurately spots fibromyalgia: Study finds unique ‘molecular signature’ for often-misdiagnosed disease.” Science daily March 2019.
How exciting! Maybe patients with fibromyalgia will be diagnosed much more quickly in the future. maybe research will filter through the medical community and change lives. So there you go, fibromyalgia research is getting somewhere!
Meanwhile back at our house, I am detoxing my environment, eating gluten free/low carb, and giving up that second drink. I will keep researching, you guys take care of yourselves.