The next two symptoms I’d like to discuss which are very common with almost all Fibromyalgia patients are Fatigue and Insomnia.
The three most common things I hear from my Fibro patients:
1 I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck
2 I feel like I have the flu all the time
3 I feel like I’ve been beat up
Number 2 is almost always related to that fatigue you experience. This can vary from mild fatigue allowing you work, but exhausting you at the end of the day, to the type of fatigue where you just can’t get out of bed. This where the slightest exertion totally wipes you out. Something as simple as washing some dishes might make you head to the bed or couch to lie down for a while. Fatigue is also so troublesome because it interferes with you interacting with your spouse, children, grandchildren and friends.
In fact, I once had a patient who told me that her goal for the day was to attempt to take all the dishes out of the dishwasher. She wasn’t able to do it. Something as simple as that, something that people without Fibromyalgia take for granted, become a huge, almost undo-able task. By the way, this is one of the reasons why people who do not have fibromyalgia (including doctors), have so much difficulty understanding what you, the patient, is dealing with on a day to day basis.
Fibro fatigue, as fibro in general, not only affects the sufferer but the families. Imagine your husband watching you suffer and yet there is not a thing he can do about it. He will feel helpless and totally impotent because he cannot help the woman he loves most in the world, the most important person in his life get well. Imagine the mother who is not able to spend enough quality time with her children, again due to the monster called Fibromyalgia. Imagine not being able to attend school functions, see their children in plays, help them with homework, and even take weekend trips with the entire family. Fibro fatigue is rearing its ugly head.
The say that one of the most sacred relationships is between a grandmother and the grandchildren. Here is another scenario where the grandparent cannot be fully a part of the grandchild’s life, thank you Fibromyalgia.
This is the fatigue of fibromyalgia, but what causes this? The inability to sleep!
Insomnia, the other symptom is just as troublesome, you might lie in bed for hours, or if lucky you do get some sleep, but it is a very superficial sleep. This is not the deep sleep that is so essential to our well being. Many of you need to use sleep meds which might help somewhat, but again, you never reach that deep level of sleep. Others might sleep for an hour or two, than you’re up, totally wide away. You’re exhausted, but just can’t get to sleep.
These two symptoms are totally inter-related, the reason you’re so fatigued is that you do not sleep; you are basically “sleep-deprived”. So what is going on?
As we mentioned in the prior symptom blog, your nervous system is on over drive. One of the effects is that your adrenal glands are constantly on overdrive leading to a constant secretion of adrenalin. When you have so much adrenalin floating around, you’re not going to sleep.
For a moment, allow me to use myself as an example (though I do not have Fibromyalgia). Suppose that it is 11:00PM, I’ve worked hard all day and am ready to get into bed. I know that I’ll fall asleep immediately (as is my habit). Just as I hit the bed, the phone rings and it turns out to be a friend I hadn’t spoken to in 15 years. My friend and I spent 1/2 hour filling each in on our lives, we’re both excited and finally agree to talk at length in a few days. When I hang up, the adrenalin is pumping through my body. Do you think I’ll, now, be able to get to sleep? Absolutely not, it will take an hour for the adrenalin to process out, until than I’ll be wide awake.
People with Fibro have this adrenalin pumping almost all the time, thus sleep becomes almost impossible! Very simply speaking, when you’re not getting the sleep you need, you are going to be fatigued all the time. This is how the two are related. You can blame it on the Adrenal glands. We’ll speak at length about the Adrenals in another blog as it they (you have two) are such important hormone glands with so many different functions.
Some of the side effects of sleep deprivation are:
Mental confusion and memory laps
Problems with mental clarity
Increases Blood Pressure
Increased stress Hormones, meaning more stress
And the list continues.
Sound familiar? What we have is a cycle where as Fibromyalgia causes sleep deprivation which in turn causes more fibro symptoms. By the way, Sleep deprivation has been linked to a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, lowered immune function and other illnesses.
Ever wonder why some of you are so sensitive to light, to loud music, to sound of a bass drum thumbing. Wonder why some of you can’t walk into a department store due to the loud noises or the smells of perfumes? These are symptoms of sleep deprivation which are symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Unfortunately using meds to help you sleep, only help to an extent, they, many times, don’t let you achieve that deep level of sleep that is so necessary for replenishing the body.
More on the Big Six to come, Monday will be more vegetarian recipes!
I’d like to tell you that I am and have been helping people lead Fibro free lives for years now. If you’d like to find out more about that and set up a one on one personal private consultation time with me, send me an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org (put consultation in the description) and we can set up a time to speak, via phone or Skype, which ever works better for you. We will be than able to determine if you’re qualified and can benefit. (not all do)
I will explain the treatment options, why it works so well, and what exactly is involved during this consultation,
I can only take a handful of new patients at one time due to the exclusive nature of what I do. Thanks.
Dr. Gene Martin