Fibromyalgia and Depression
With so many known conditions today, many people try to diagnose themselves with a condition. People are now using websites like Web MD more than ever to avoid that trip to the doctor. Someone might be concerned over a little bit of constant pain in an area of the body. Is it a tumor? Or maybe it is just bursitis or arthritis? However, fibromyalgia is a condition that is not so uncommon to be diagnosed with.
While it is probably best to go to the doctor to clarify what you have, fibromyalgia may be a possibility if you are experiencing constant pain and aches. This syndrome typically affects the tendons, muscles, and soft tissues. The condition is accompanied by persistent pain in these areas, an unusually high sensitivity or abnormally low pain tolerance. Fibromyalgia typically affects women that are over the age of 20, but is not limited to this category.
Causes of the syndrome vary greatly and some symptoms mimic many other conditions. This can make diagnosis of the condition somewhat difficult. Some causes can include, but are not limited to: simply not getting enough sleep, having a virus or infection, undergoing a traumatic experience (car accident, emotional breakup, etc.), or many other reasons. Having too many long days at work can also help lead to developing the condition.
Treatment of fibromyalgia often varies with the potential causes. There is no actual cure for the syndrome, but there are several treatment methods to help deal with it. If stress may be contributing to the condition, one might take a couple days off of work and relax. Find some stress treatment or take a day at the spa.
Often adjusting a stressful, sleep deprived schedule can lead to helping treat the condition. Also changing to a healthier diet can help. Eat those fruits and vegetables so the body can take in all the required nutrients it needs for a healthy immune system. If you are diagnosed with the condition and it is serious enough a doctor can also prescribe pain medication or sleep medication to help treat the condition.
Depression is also thought to be correlated with Fibromyalgia. Depression is also something that can be caused by many different variables so it also contributes to fibromyalgia’s varying causes. Depression often leads to or can be caused by fatigue of the body which also goes hand in hand with fibromyalgia. For this reason it is important when treating fibromyalgia, a doctor must also consider a patients mental state.
If depressed, extra medication may be needed to boost the mood of the patient. Treating their depression can also lead to bettering their fibromyalgia condition. On the other hand, having fibromyalgia can lead to developing depression. Feeling pain constantly can beat a person’s well-being and mental state down. It is important to start treating these conditions quickly to prevent a worsening condition.
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Similarities
Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are two of the most troublesome medical conditions in the world today. They also share many similarities. Many health professionals think that Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are variations of the same condition. Research shows that 50 to 70 percent of people with one diagnosis also fit the criteria for the other, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder that is characterized by widespread musculus-skeletal pain. It can also cause fatigue and tenderness in localized areas of the body. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’s main symptom is prolonged tiredness to the point of exhaustion. This can also be coupled with long-term depression, fever, and body aches.
Both conditions are caused by an unknown trigger. With Fibromyalgia, many medical experts believe it to be brought on by factors such as stress, poor sleeping habits, trauma and depression. Chronic Fatigue syndrome is thought to be brought on by genetic defects, abnormalities in hormone levels or the central nervous system, infections, and low blood pressure. It can also be brought on by depression. People with either of these conditions can experience the symptom of poor sleeping habits.
Insomnia and disrupted sleep are common with both conditions. This brings on a host of other problems including chronic headaches and impaired coordination due to lack of sleep. Poor job performance and lowered sexual libido are other side effects of the diminished sleep symptom experienced with each of these conditions.
Each of these conditions also causes pain and tenderness throughout the body. Stiff joints, unexplained pain, and sore muscles are all common complaints of both Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia sufferers. There is a key difference in this respect, however. Fibromyalgia sufferers typically report of specific “pain sites” in the body, that is, areas where the pain has localized. Chronic Fatigue sufferers do not have these “pain sites”.
People with Chronic Fatigue also often have swollen or inflamed glands; Fibromyalgia sufferers do not. Who these disorders affect also seems to be a common thread, with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia being more prevalent in women than in men. Chronic Fatigue has been reported as being four times more common in women than in men. They also seem to be most commonly diagnosed in patients who are middle-aged.
Treatment strategies for each disorder are also alike. Doctors recommend that those with either condition get plenty of sleep and rest and avoid stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine. Doctors also recommend that those with either disorder avoid alcohol. Sleep aids are something commonly prescribed to both Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia patients to assist with diminished sleep.
Many doctors have also found cognitive behavioral therapy to be beneficial to those with either condition, making them more alert in recognizing the symptoms of their condition. This includes self-treatment through pain management and relaxation strategies.
While both conditions share many similarities, health professionals say that there is one key to distinguishing whether someone has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia. Those who seem to suffer more fatigue than pain are usually diagnoses with Chronic Fatigue, while those who suffer more pain than fatigue are diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
Inflammation From Food
I think this may be one of the more important posts I’ve written. You may want to read it a couple times.
I’ve been reading up on the effects of foods in my diet and how they may be related to different health issues. There is an abundance of information starting to surface about the relation between the two—food and health issues. There seems to have been the push for some time now about eating right and you will feel right, or “you become whatever you put in your mouth” kind of philosophies, but what we’ve been told is the “right food” seems to actually be causing some of the issues (you may want to read that again).
In the book Wheat Belly, and other articles and information I’ve read, the correlation between specific types of foods and what it does in and to our bodies are laid out. Sometimes the jargon is a little medical, but as I read I understand that not all food is created equal, even the foods labeled, “All Natural” or “Whole Grain.” If it was the food of 50 years ago maybe it would hold true, but since there are so many genetically altered foods and processed foods being consumed now, the all-natural and whole grain of the past is no longer the same, and our bodies are telling us this!
Wheat and corn are two of the biggies in genetically modified organisms (GMO). The wheat and corn that grew in the fields years ago are not the same as now. They have been altered to produce more yield for crops, make a longer lasting product, cheaper product or meet the demands of a certain market. One problem is that in changing up the genetics, the effect that food has on our bodies has changed as well. So it can actually have a negative effect on our body to eat the “new and improved” whole grain bread, leading to inflammation, diabetes, visceral fat (fat around the organs and mid-section), and so many other health problems. Our bodies were not created to ingest altered foods, so now we are paying the price physically.
While I do not want to advise you to disregard what your doctor has been telling you – eating many of the foods that you hear doctors throw around (whole grain breads, low-fat foods, turkey, etc.) are actually triggers that can set off inflammation and fibromyalgia symptoms. Almost 98% of all lunch meat (even the turkey and chicken) contains gluten, wheat, corn, etc. They are binding agents, stabilizers, and preservatives. The wheat bread or whole grain bread has been genetically altered so much, it can spike your blood sugar and actually increase your levels of pain. “All natural flavoring” in many products is another way of saying “corn.” It’s crazy!
Recent studies show how someone with a higher visceral fat level has increased inflammation in their joints leading to arthritis, higher rates of diabetes, cardiac problems, fibromyalgia and other ailments. Everyone has visceral fat to some extent, but the greater the amount, the more that person seems to suffer. Personally, I know that as my mid-section increased, so did my symptoms of pain and inflammation in my joints, bloating, bowel distress, fatigue and changes in my skin.
Now that I’m changing my diet many of these things have begun to straighten out and I’m noticing some changes in my health. The aches and pains are going away in my joints, the bloating is gone and I’m getting more energy and focus than before. Since it took my body a long time to build up these issues I know it won’t be an overnight fix, but I’m thankful to be on the right road.
It isn’t easy. Change is hard. All I know is that I feel I am taking baby steps in the right direction. I know with 100% certainty, I am better today that I was 6 months ago. I have lost weight. I have less pain. I have more energy. I am doing better. Six months from now, I know I will have continued to make more baby steps in the right direction, and I will be better then.
Don’t Forget Your Common Sense
It is rather amazing sometimes when I hear about people struggling with their health, whether fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or anything for that matter, how common sense seems to go out the window. Let me explain…
People wonder why their knees hurt, but they are 50, 100, or 150 pounds over weight. People wonder why they have a headache, but they’ve been eating horribly throughout Christmas. People wonder why they can’t sleep at night, but they drink caffeine and eat foods high in sugar late at night.
So, what do they do? They go visit their doctor and he/she prescribes a pain medication or a sleeping pill of some kind. Really?
It’s Time To Wake Up!!
I am amazed how intellegent people survive with themselves sometimes. Some of the most obvious and common sense things are completely neglected when it comes to taking care of themselves.
These same people can easily dispense the advice to others, but ignore it when it comes to their own health. Let me make a suggestion – take a step back and evaluate things from an objective perspective and you’d be surprised how much money you can save on doctor visits and medication.
Now, I’m not saying ditch your medications… don’t hear that. Here is what I am saying…
There is a direct coorelation between what we put in our mouths and how we feel. To say otherwise is to sound like a person who is in denial that their smoking a pack a day doesn’t effect their health (I have an aunt who still believes her smoking has nothing to do with poor health).
Make Smart, Common Sense Choices
I am not saying that if we eat better then all of our fibromyalgia symptoms will be gone… but, I have certainly heard people say it’s happened to them.
Consider this – how come fibromyalgia wasn’t as prevelant 50 – 100 years ago? Was it because they couldn’t diagnose it back then, or was it because the food we eat, the air we breathe, the stress we put ourselves through, the toxins our bodies absorb, etc. is different today than it was 50 years ago?
I imagine it’s a bit of both. But, when we eat a diet full of carbohydrates and processed food in boxes, I think in some ways we get what we deserve.
I say this very carefully. I am a product of what I have eaten and what I eat. My immune system any body has taken some abuse over the years. Sometimes I compromise too easily when I’m tired and already sore. Sometimes it’s just easier after a hard day.
But… maybe 2013 is a good time to start something different. Maybe a gluten-free diet or some form of healthier diet is the way I should go.
I do know this. I already know how to be healthy and how to make my days better and more manageable. It’s common sense really. When it comes to ourselves and some of the suffering we go through, common sense can be a forgotten friend.
I would encourage you to try a 2 or 3 day period where you eat healthier, go gluten-free for 72 hours, or go low carb. At the end of it, evaluate things.
Anyway, I’m just thinking out loud… speaking to myself more than anything.
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