Posts Tagged Fibromyalgia

If There Were Olympics For Chronic Illness

Check out Lydia’s musings on what the ChronicOylmpics might entail – great post! 👍😉!

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The Winter Olympics are just about over and I have been enjoying many of the events from the relative comfort of my recliner.

In a few weeks, Korea will be hosting the Paralympic Games for athletes with various physical abilities. These games are just as challenging as the original games and the athletes are just as talented as their able-bodied counterparts.

I got to wondering what the games would look like for those of us with chronic health problems. I am not talking tongue in cheek here so please bear with me for a bit.

via If There Were Olympics For Chronic Illness

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Fibromyalgia and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Fibromyalgia is primarily characterized by widespread pain. The locations include the right and left side of the body, as well as above and below the waist. However, many patients experience pain in just one or a few places. If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you probably have quite a story to tell about finally getting a diagnosis. One of the main reasons that getting the diagnosis is so difficult is because fibro symptoms resemble the symptoms of other conditions, diseases, and disorders. Widespread pain, for example, is not limited to fibromyalgia.

In your quest for a fibro diagnosis, you no doubt encountered a discussion about rheumatoid arthritis, which is also commonly referred to as RA.  The reason you likely encountered a fibromyalgia vs RA discussion with your physician on within your personal research is that, in addition to widespread pain, both conditions produce other similar symptoms as well. These include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Morning stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of mobility and range of motion

Another similarity in the fibromyalgia vs RA debate are the flares or “flare ups.” The Mayo Clinic explains: “Rheumatoid arthritis signs and symptoms may vary in severity and may even come and go. Periods of increased disease activity, called flare, alternate with periods of relative remission – when the swelling and pain fade or disappear. Over time, rheumatoid arthritis can cause joints to deform and shift out of place.” While the flares are certainly similar, this is one key difference in fibromyalgia compared to RA: fibromyalgia does not cause joint deformation like rheumatoid arthritis does. That’s because RA is rooted in inflammation, unlike fibromyalgia.

Just What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease that attacks the joints. This leads to inflammation which results in swelling and pain around the joints. Over time the inflammation causes damage to the cartilage, as well as a loss of it. This in turn leads to less and less space between joints. The joints then become unstable and painful, even losing their mobility and sometimes leading to deformed joints. This damage is irreversible. So it is recommended that RA treatment is addressed quickly and aggressively.

Fibromyalgia vs RA: What If I Have Both?

Though it is certainly possible to suffer from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis at the same time, these illnesses are definitely different. Even the medications used to treat them are different. In fact, having a correct diagnosis is critical for determining the correct medication. It is equally critical because ignoring RA symptoms and pushing through the joint pain can actually lead to irreparable damage.

If you are one of the few patients who suffers from both, make sure to find a knowledgeable physician who is experienced in treating both conditions. Good places to start are with a rheumatologist, neurologist, or an osteopath. Interestingly enough, the Arthritis Foundation explains that “people with other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, are at greater risk for fibromyalgia. For example, about 20 to 30 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis also develop fibromyalgia, although no one knows why.”

Other Similar Symptoms

The Mayo Clinic adds that approximately 40% of those with RA also experience symptoms that do not involve the joints. Understanding this helps explain why fibromyalgia vs RA is such a difficult thing to puzzle out. Rheumatoid arthritis effects other structures, including:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Lungs
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Salivary glands
  • Nerve tissue
  • Bone marrow
  • Blood vessels

Compare those effected structures and how they relate to the following common symptoms of fibromyalgia:

  • Skin sensitivities, rashes
  • Itching, burning
  • Dry eyes, mouth
  • Vision problems
  • Muscle weakness, aching
  • Numbness, tingling
  • Dizziness
  • Pain

If you’re unsure about your diagnosis, it will be helpful to keep a journal of your pain so that you have specific details to discuss with your physician. Traditionally, women have been most effected by fibromyalgia. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates between 80-90% are women ages 18 and up. But the way it is tested is expanding, so more men are getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well. Similarly, the Arthritis Foundation says that rheumatoid arthritis effects nearly three times as many women as it does men. They add that while it does occur with men, it typically happens later in life for them. For women, RA begins between the ages of 30 and 60.

Were you misdiagnosed? Or do you suffer from both fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis?

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com is posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your doctor.

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Fibromyalgia and Muscle Twitching

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Our muscles are at the core of fibromyalgia issues, and because of that, our muscles are where we are going to notice the majority of our issues. Controlling our fibromyalgia is based on a lot of factors, but many of them are related to the muscles that are most affected by the disease.

Muscle twitching is one of the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia, and it’s important to deal with it quickly. In this article, we’re going to look at why muscle twitching is such a common issue with fibromyalgia, and how you can cope with it in a manner that allows you to continue to live your life.

Why Does Muscle Twitching Happen with Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a disorder where our body is constantly in pain. At this point in time, there isn’t really a single known cause of the disorder, and because of that, it’s often hard to treat. Many times, professionals are just dealing with the symptoms and trying to make it as simple as possible for the person suffering from the disorder to live a normal life – or as normal as they possibly can.

Muscle twitching is just one of many symptoms that may end up occurring in people who are suffering from fibromyalgia. What is a muscle twitch? In short, it’s when the nerves in your body (usually in muscles) start to work without you telling them to.

They shoot off signals and move without you prompting them to. Many people know about the twitch in their eyelids or in their fingers, but they can be a lot worse in those with fibromyalgia. But why do they happen?

There are a number of emotional reasons that we can end up with muscle twitches. Stress and anxiety are probably the two biggest reasons. Many people who suffer from fibromyalgia will deal with one or both of these problems at some point.

Under these conditions, our bodies will start to be tense and they won’t act as they should, thus making it difficult for us to control what is going on with our bodies. We may tremble or twitch, even though we didn’t tell our body to do any of those things.

Anxiety will often make people tremble or twitch, even if they can’t sense the mental part of their anxiety, their body may still react with twitches and trembles. Either way, it can be a bit disconcerting.

Another reason is that of an injury or because of tension in the muscle itself. Injuries can make it so that the nerves don’t fire as they should, and tension makes it so that your nerves may be strained or pinched.

In either of those cases, it’s likely that our bodies will shake and/or twitch, and we won’t really be able to do much about it. It can be scary and sometimes cause frustration, but it’s quite common and not something that you necessarily have to be afraid of if it happens to you or a loved one who deals with fibromyalgia.

How Can We Deal with and/or Prevent Muscle Twitching?

As with anything else, we can deal with muscle twitching (and in some cases, we can even prevent it). Your specialist is the only one who can actually give you a full plan as to how you want to go about it, but here are some suggestions that you can use in order to help prevent and/or deal with muscle twitching that is related to fibromyalgia.

It sounds simple, but staying active can actually play a huge role in preventing muscle twitches as a result of fibromyalgia. If you are exercising (which, even though it can be difficult with fibromyalgia pain, you want to try and do at least semi-regularly), then you are stretching your muscles and making them less tense. Even just doing stretches around the house can really help limber you up.

It will also make it easier for you to move around. Remember – some movement is better than no movement at all, so even a little bit can end up helping you feel a lot better and can help to reduce the spasms and twitching of your muscles. Go and take a walk around the block, or just use the muscle that is causing you the issues – sometimes, just using the muscle is enough to help it work correctly and to turn off the “misfiring” that is going on in your body.

Even if you have fibromyalgia, some muscle twitches could be signs of bigger problems in your body. There are a few reasons that you may want to call a professional and get help if you’re having a muscle twitch that is out of the ordinary.

If you can’t move a part of your body because of the twitch, if you start to feel dizzy or sick, and/or you are in so much pain that moving your body (or at least, the area that is affected) is out of the question. In those cases, you will want to go to the hospital and get treated – there could be some bigger issues going on.

If the twitching is severe and making it difficult to function, your doctor may end up prescribing medications for you. Some of them are muscle relaxers, others are anti-spasmodic medications. It depends on what your doctor believes is causing the muscle twitching in the first place. They may also send you to a physical therapist and/or give you electrical therapy, depending on where the spasm is located and if the technologies and/or techniques have been proven to help your specific area of issue.

Muscle twitching is, unfortunately, a common truth that many people who suffer from fibromyalgia have to deal with. It’s important that we’re not only aware of this issue, but also that we can take care of it when it comes up. If muscle twitching has become an issue for you, talk to your specialist. They can help you with more suggestions and give you a treatment plan that actually addresses the twitching and its severity.

 

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and is posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

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Fibromyalgia and Triggers

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Each person who struggles with fibromyalgia can have different triggers and different things that make you feel better. It can be very difficult to navigate what is working to minimize your pain or prevent you from becoming in pain.

Keeping a fibromyalgia journal is the perfect way to keep track of your eating, exercising, and feelings. When you read back through your journal you may be able to identify certain foods that triggered your fibromyalgia, or certain exercises that made you feel much better for days after. It can also help identify stressful situations or people that caused anxiety or even a flare-up. Take the time to keep a journal and see if it can make a difference in your fibromyalgia.

Reducing Stress

We all have stressful lives and it might not be possible to totally eliminate stress from your day to day life. By journaling, you might be able to plan out your day better or deal with your feelings, which can reduce the stress you are feeling. Sometimes simply writing something down will give you a release so you can move forward with the rest of your day.

Reducing stress is an important part of your day to day health. Take whatever steps you can to write down your stressors from the day and try to tackle them one at a time. Make a list of things you don’t want to forget, or of people you need to call. Your fibromyalgia journal can be used for anything that will reduce your stress.

Use as Your Investigator to Identify Food Triggers

A key component in staying away from fibromyalgia triggers is the ability to identify what foods are making your symptoms worse. This is a long process that involves eliminating and reintroducing foods to test what effects they have on your body. A food journal is a perfect assistant on this investigative journey.

Write down everything you eat, when you eat it and how it makes you feel. You will quickly start to identify items that are causing you more fibromyalgia pain. If you are unsure if an item is a trigger for you, try reintroducing the food and see if you still notice the poor effects on your body.

Basics of Journal Keeping

Journaling can be as detailed as you would like or as sparse as you would like, it is all up to you. Your journal is what you want it to be. You can keep track of only your foods that you eat. Or perhaps you want to keep a detailed list of all your aches and pains throughout the day to see if exposure to other items may be making your symptoms worse. You decide what is most important to you and keep the journal with that information. It is important to be consistent and keep the journal for several weeks, even months, so you can accurately identify what works and does not work for you.

Electronic vs. Paper Journals, which is Best?

Everyone has their opinion on what works best, old-school paper journals or new journals you can keep on your phone or tablet. Both options have their positive and negative points, so it is important for you to find the journal type that works best for you. If you are not allowed to have access to your phone at work, it would not be good to keep your journal on there.

Instead, use a small notebook so you can accurately keep track of all the things you want to track. If you travel a lot and your phone is what you use for your calendar, appointments etc; your phone may be the best option for you to keep your journal on. There is no right or wrong answer to which type of journal you should keep.

Fitness Journaling can Help Too

Because staying fit is such an important part of managing your fibromyalgia, you might want to include your fitness activities in your journal as well. Keep track of the days you are more active and the things you do. Write down when you go for walks or get a chance to go to the gym. Then make sure and write down if you feel like your symptoms improved or got worse after your exercise. It is important to track which physical activity is making you feel better and which might be doing more harm than good. If you try out some Pilate’s classes or other new activities, track the changes they have in your mood and body to see if it is something you would like to try again.

Share Your Fibromyalgia Journal with Your Doctor

After all this work of keeping a journal, what do you do with it? Share it with your doctor. You and your doctor can go through the foods that you felt were causing you trouble and decide which one food you should eliminate first. You do not want to make too many changes at one time because you will not know which food was actually your trigger food.

Talk with your doctor about other items that you feel may be making your fibromyalgia worse, like your menstrual period or new tooth fillings. Your doctor is your partner in this fight against fibromyalgia, make sure and share as many details as you can with them.

Keeping a fibromyalgia journal may seem like a tedious task or something only your teenage daughter would do. But you may find that keeping a journal is the perfect solution for identifying your triggers and reducing or eliminating them. Take the clues you gain from your journal and work with your doctor to find the perfect solution for minimizing your fibromyalgia symptoms. You can also use your journal to monitor your own fitness and diet goals. Keep your journal on paper, or in an electronic device, but make sure you are updating it frequently throughout the day so you can have the best possible results of what your triggers are.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

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Chronic Pain and Kratom

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From FibromyalgiaTreating.com:

The Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that their research has reaffirmed their suspicions that Kratomis similar to addictive, dangerous opioids. The drug, an herb from Southeast Asia that many fibromyalgia sufferers use for relief from their symptoms, is still legal in the U.S. (unless you live Alabama, Indiana, Arkansas, or Wisconsin). Still as many as 5 Million people in the U.S. use or have used kratom to get relief from pain, anxiety, opioid withdrawal, and fibromyalgia. The FDA has not announced whether it will place the drug on the Schedule 1 list of addictive drugs like cocaine and morphine (and for some reason, marijuana), but yesterday’s announcement is probably not good news for people who use the substance.

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There was a time when announcements from the FDA were reassuring, letting us know they were on the job regulating acceptable standards for our food supply and holding pharmaceutical manufacturers accountable for safe, sound drug research and creation.

But that time has long since passed.

Big Pharma is out of control marketing drugs to an uninformed public in an endless stream of daily commercials. The announcer tells us how we’ll feel better, look better, have better super sex, and play more golf, swim, jog, garden, and socialize with our friends on the patio.

Of course, as the commercial ends, the announcer’s speech takes on a rapid pace and he runs through the list of possible side effects, one of which for so many drugs, is death.

But, we ignore the last part and run to our doctors requesting the latest wonder drugs to ease our pain and cure our hearts, livers, eyesight, diabetes, psoriasis, acid reflux, and prop up our bladders.

And when people taking these drugs die… because remember, death is a side effect, Big Pharma and the FDA stand side-by-side  and proclaim it wasn’t the drug that killed. Never mind the tests results and autopsy findings. The facts have no place in this.

Last Tuesday’s announcement about kratomis is a joke… without a fact in sight.

The FDA’s research reaffirmed their suspicions? And based on suspicions the drug could get Schedule 1 listed? What type of science works on suspicions?

I know very little about kratomis and have only been following its articles for about a year. But, sounds like I know about as much as the FDA.

And it is in that mindset that I call bullshit!

I am one of no less than five million people who live with daily pain. And in the latest opioid addiction epidemic, there is no relief for people like me.

With announcements like the FDA’s latest, it doesn’t appear there will be relief any time soon.

The link below is to an article by Dr. C. Michael White, professor and head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice for the University of Connecticut. Dr. White is not affiliated with any drug companies or research studies.

Dr. White’s article details the benefits and disadvantages of using kratomis. Guess what? The benefits are winning.

Wonder if the FDA knows this?

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The dangers and potential of ‘natural’ opioid kratom

Given the opioid addiction crisis, it would seem preposterous that an opioid is legal for use in the United States and can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores, over the internet and, yes, even from vending machines.

However, kratom is not your average opioid. The Drug Enforcement Agency found this out when it tried to ban the herb in 2016.

Public outcry from users and 51 congressmen around the country from both political parties was loud. The DEA has since dropped its attempt to ban kratom, although its use is banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and Louisiana.

More recently, on Nov. 14, 2017, the FDA issued a public warning about kratom, citing 36 deaths that the agency has attributed to kratom use.

Kratom lies at the intersection between natural product and drug of abuse, areas I have been been exploring as a clinical pharmacology researcher and a pharmacist for two decades. From ephedra for weight loss to MDMA (molly) for PTSD, experience has taught me that natural products are not always safe and that banned drugs may actually benefit some patients.

 

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Fibromyalgia and Supplements

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Fibromyalgia swelling is a painful condition that many with fibromyalgia experience. Their limbs and joints become painful and inflamed, which makes daily life difficult. But what causes the swelling? And can dietary supplements help you with your symptoms?

Their limbs become swollen with excess fluid, and they find that things, like walking or using their hands, are difficult because of the pain. And that makes it hard to perform basic daily tasks. So fibromyalgia swelling is definitely something that can reduce your quality of life.

But what causes the swelling? And are there dietary supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help you with your symptoms?

What Causes Fibromyalgia Swelling?

People with fibromyalgia sometimes find that their hands, feet or other parts of their body suddenly start swelling.

Swelling, or edema, is usually caused by fluid from blood vessels leaking into the body and being retained by your cells. The afflicted area then swells up with fluid underneath the skin.

Usually, this is caused by injury, but in people with fibromyalgia, it can also be triggered by stress. Some doctors theorize that the swelling is actually inflammation, which is when your body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and causes it to swell. And if this is the case, it would support the idea that fibromyalgia is actually an autoimmune disease, which is where your bodies immune system begins attacking your healthy cells by mistake.

Either way, there are things you can do to reduce your fibromyalgia swelling, starting with dietary supplements.

How Can Supplements Reduce Your Swelling?

Because swelling is caused by the retention of fluid in your cells, supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help your cells regulate fluid will help reduce the amount of pain and discomfort you experience.

Your diet actually makes a huge difference in nearly every aspect of how your body performs. And a well-balanced diet will make your body naturally retain less fluid. But if you can’t get all the vitamins you need in your diet, supplements for fibromyalgia swelling are a great way to go.

Some Supplements For Fibromyalgia Swelling

When it comes to choosing the right supplements for fibromyalgia swelling, it’s important to choose vitamins that help your body perform its job correctly. Certain nutrients are important in the way your body regulates the flow of fluid from joints and muscles. So you want to make sure you’re choosing your supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that help create the types of cells that regulate fluid in the body.

And you also want to make sure that you aren’t taking supplements for fibromyalgia swelling that aren’t helping to contribute to the sorts of nutrients that encourage your body to retain water.

There are certain types of foods that naturally make your cells more likely to hold in the fluid that leads to fibromyalgia swelling.

Iron

Iron is a vitamin that plays an important role in regulating your blood and cardiovascular system. A healthy level of iron in your blood will help your body naturally improve circulation to the areas where you are experiencing fibromyalgia swelling and pull the fluid back into your blood stream. Iron is a key ingredient in the creation of new blood cells. And a healthy level of iron in your diet will let you create the red blood cells your body needs. That will help drain the fluid away from the area.

Normally, Iron is found in leafy, green vegetables like Kale. But you can also get it in the form of supplements.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B normally exists in red meat, meaning that people who are vegetarians will often suffer from vitamin B deficiencies. And vitamin B plays a significant role in the regulation of your bodies circulatory system as it regulates nerves and blood cell creation.

So a healthy level of vitamin B will help your body naturally fight swelling in the limbs by creating the blood cells to carry the fluid away from the area.

Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle is a plant with natural anti-inflammatory properties.  The plant has tiny spines that release painful chemicals when touched, which gives it its name. But when used as a supplement, the natural chemicals in the stinging nettle reduce inflammation and swelling.

You can also use a compound of stinging nettle directly on the skin to reduce the pain and inflammation you experience. The stinging spines are placed against the area that is inflamed, and after a brief feeling of pain, the chemicals the stingers release actually make the area feel numb.

It’s an effective way to treat a painful limb without using drugs if you’re interested in alternative treatments. And it’s also a great supplement for fibromyalgia swelling.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice that is usually used in Indian and Asian cuisines as the main flavor in curries. But it turns out that it also has some medical properties that can help reduce inflammation.

Turmeric contains the chemical compound “curcumin,” which has anti-inflammatory properties. So adding a turmeric supplement to your daily diet may help relieve some of your swelling. The natural anti-inflammatory compounds help your body move fluid out of the affected limbs and back into your blood stream.

Just remember that no matter what supplements you choose to take, make sure that you are getting them from a reliable source. The US Food and Drug Administration is actually not authorized to test supplements for their effectiveness or safety. So it’s important to carefully research any supplements for fibromyalgia swelling you decide to take. And make sure you’re getting supplements that are both safe and effective.

*Some products you find on the internet may actually be full of useless additives, which makes them ineffective. And some products can actually be harmful. Around 23,000 people every year actually end up in the hospital due to taking supplements that contain things like aconite powder, which is poisonous.

When you’re taking supplements for fibromyalgia swelling, make sure you’re careful about the supplements you’re using.

*Bold emphasis added by blogger.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your doctor.

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Fibromyalgia and Microglia

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People who suffer from fibromyalgia hear constantly that they are just imagining their symptoms. It’s one of the most infuriating parts of getting help for the disease. But is true that fibromyalgia is in your head? Research into the relationship between microglia and fibromyalgia shows it may be literally in your head.

Microglia

Microglia are immune cells that pass through the barrier of your brain. This causes inflammation in the brain. It’s a normal part of your body’s immune system.

But when you develop certain brain disorders, the microglia go into overdrive. They begin attacking the structures of the brain. And that plays a role in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

And it turns out that these microglia may actually be responsible for fibromyalgia.

Microglia and Fibromyalgia

Jarred Younger at the University of Alabama is a scientist studying the role that microglia play in fibromyalgia. Tired of hearing patients told that “your fibromyalgia is in your head,” Younger began looking for explanations of what might cause the disorder.

He focused in on the immune system of fibromyalgia patients. The first step was to test the patients’ blood for abnormalities. He found that there were a number of markers in their blood that were unusual.

First, the level of leptin was far higher in the blood of fibromyalgia patients. Leptin is a hormone that is released from fat cells. Younger found that not only was the concentration in fibromyalgia patients’ blood higher but that the concentration of leptin could predict how severe their symptoms were from day to day.

But leptin is also a hormone that can pass through the barrier into the brain. And that’s where the microglia come in. Younger believes that the presence of higher levels of leptin might be causing microglia to become activated and triggering the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is (literally) in your head

If Younger is correct, it means in a strict sense that fibromyalgia is in your head. The reaction between increased leptin levels and the microglia in your brain could easily be the reason that fibromyalgia causes the symptoms it does.

As Younger says:

Microglia defend our brain against everything. When we get the flu, for instance, microglia are activated. These cells make us want to crawl into bed and do nothing – so our body can devote its resources to fighting off the flu.

Fatigue and flu-like aches? Sounds a lot like fibromyalgia, right?

And that means that by understanding the role that microglia play in fibromyalgia, we could get closer to a cure. But the problem is that there is no good way to measure the way that your brain’s immune cells respond to leptin. And Younger hopes that developing a better way to measure this response can help develop a test for fibromyalgia. And hopefully, that is the first step to a cure.

Younger’s research is a great first step in finally getting to the cause of fibromyalgia. And understanding how fibromyalgia is caused by the brain can make treating it easier.

We are still a long way from getting to the bottom of the disease. But this research into microglia and fibromyalgia is a good start.

 

The preceding article is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and posted here for sharing purposes only. No copyright infringement intended. For additional information, please visit their website or consult your physician.

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