What it does to the body
The use of body resources, during a flare
and what can we do, to help ?
What happens, during the life event, we call a flare ? Well, first, let us look at it from a medical standpoint.
Flare: =”the sudden intensification of a disease.” Not saying much huh ? Alright then, it’s defiantly not enough for our purposes, so let’s look at it a bit deeper and see what it really means.
Fibromyalgia flare = Not so easy to define. As each persons experience with FM is different, ergo, their flares are going to be different, but we can try to at least list some things we all tend to have happen, during a flare.
Increase in pain
More sleep issues, often due to the pain
Deeper memory problems
IBS is worse
GERD is worse
Blurred vision and more eye issues
Greater chest pain
and of course, the Fog got thicker, as the brain just took a hike
Now this is to name just a few … now, what do we tend to do, or moreover, can we do, during such a time ?
We of course, tend to take more of our medications, if we have any that help. We cut back on our activities, use all of the alternative means, ( heat, cold, massage etc. ) but quite honestly, the one thing we can do, that tends to help the most … is to sleep. Un-refreshing or not, sleep can be a major relief from an FM flare.
The main reason is that while we are asleep, we are making fewer demands on the body, so that it can now use the bodies resources, to tame the flare. Rather than use them all up, to try and let us do our day to day tasks, since we are up and about. Resources are finite on any given day when you have FM, but during a flare, they are almost nonexistent.
A little stroll here, through the inner workings of the body, to explain this.
What are body resources ?
Energy to rebuild, which are created by a variety of things. Lipids ( fats ), Carbs and Proteins. Most of which come from calories burned from food, which depends on a gut that is A: Processing things correctly and B: Passing the energy onto the blood stream. The O2, from the lungs which is, one hopes, passed into the blood stream, to activate all of the above. As all cells need oxygen just to live, much less to work. So, to DO anything at all, on any given day, a lot of things have to be in working order.
How we get energy from food:
“Our digestive and nervous systems facilitate the ingestion of food and contribute the enzymes that break down sugars and starches into glucose. The endocrine system contributes insulin which, along with glucose, is delivered to cell membranes via the circulatory system.
Once it is inside the cell some glucose gets converted to glycogen — a storage form of glucose — that acts as an energy reservoir. The rest is delivered to the batteries of the cell called mitochondria. Each microscopic mitochondrion contains hundreds of enzymes with highly specific tasks. As each enzyme does its work, a chemical reaction causes breaks in the chemical bonds of the glucose molecule producing a different glucose derivative until the original molecule has been fully degraded to the components from which it arose in the plant — carbon dioxide and water.
Whenever chemical bonds are broken, energy is released. The energy released as mitochondrial enzymes break up the chemical bonds in the glucose molecule that is used by the cell for two purposes. The first purpose is to do the primary business of that particular cell, whether it be movement, nerve conduction, hormone production or whatever. The second purpose is to nourish the genetic machinery of the cell (DNA), to keep its structure and function intact.”
“Carbohydrates one of the three building blocks of living things, the other two are proteins and fats …carbohydrates are broken down into very simple carbohydrates, mainly into glucose and fructose via digestive tract and then absorbed into bloodstream to cells.”
In simple language, the sun/sugar energy stored in the food we eat, is broken down and used for every cell in the body. Since we humans do not have leaves and the like, to gather this energy, directly. ( Just consider the visual on that one if we did ! It would give a whole new meaning, to getting a trim at the local hair salon. 🙂
O2 and the cells:
“Cellular processes require oxygen to burn the calories received from food. The general process that is used to transform food into energy is called respiration. This is the opposite of photosynthesis, where plants convert energy into sugar. Respiration does the reverse by changing sugar into energy.”
Which is the final breakdown at the cellular level, which swaps that energy for waste products, which we then expel via our outward breath for the carbon dioxide, the kidneys and liver handle the liquid and chemical left overs, and the solid matter is further processed by the bowels, then expelled. ( at least one hopes it is, as with IBS, one is never sure how that is going to work )
Understand however, that even on a normal day, we stand at what is called the “lactic” threshold, in our muscles. ( Which translates into, they are two cents off of total collapse, as if we were pumping iron all day ) and since our muscles comprise our major cellular mass, the body will find slim pickings in that area if it wants energy, along with, some major demands being made of the blood cells by those very same body parts.
( For which Mycoplasmic infection may well be to blame ) As according to studies on the effects of FM, the mitochondrial cells, which are the cells that contain the lipids, which make energy for muscle tissue to use, are being damaged, therefore the muscle cells themselves, are being damaged as a result.
So if the blood cells have to go hunting for energy, as the body has little to spare floating around in the blood stream, the cells of the muscles literally cannot, not even to help themselves, provide that energy. It’s like they are so tired, that food might be within reach, and they don’t even have enough energy, to lift “a cellular hand” to reach for it.
The idea of processing food correctly, is really put into question, as most of us have IBS as noted above, over 80% of us and we often stand at what is called “caloric exhaustion” at any given point, regardless of the diet we eat. So our digestive system, does not work well for energy processing either. Which is why the situation above, of there being little of free energy in the blood stream, happens in the first place.
Then of course the O2 exchange, which is vital to all of the cells in the body, is often compromised, as most of of us have shortness of breath, for a variety of reasons, from the mechanical ( the rib cage and chest muscles themselves do not move or work well and, that makes it hard to breathe ) and or have COPD or other issues. Even at a cellular level, we are shown to have poor oxidation of the cells, even when there is normal intake and exchange of air.
Which means, that even with all the air in the world to breathe, and a proper diet, the body still can be standing there, doing without, on a chronic basis. And when it is pushed too far and too hard, the signs of the disease increase and we have what is called a flare, creating an even greater demand, that the body often has little to no freely available resources, to try and fill.
That being the case, the body uses up what few resources are normally available, in very short order during a flare.
However, more is still needed just to function, so the body goes hunting for it, most often taking it from the bones, the teeth, hair, anywhere it can find things that it can convert into usable body resources, to repair the damage being done. In short, the body is basically feeding on itself during a flare.
This fact is why most of us have low density in our bones, often have poor teeth, straw like hair, thin brittle nails and damaged skin. It is also is why during such flares, every alarm bell we have, are all ringing at once. As the body is on full alert, doing some rather extraordinary things, just to try and minimize damage and allow for some functionality, but it is often stripping the body almost bare, to do it.
So the bottom line is, often the best thing we can do, to help the body along, and ease our own pain, and prevent as much damage as possible, is to feed the body as best we can and then sleep. Sleep and let the body do what it does best, which is heal what it can. Without us, making more demands on an already overtaxed system.
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