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Fibromyalgia Fatigue, Epstein-Barr and Chronic Fatigue

Fibromyalgia fatigue is a common complaint from patients suffering from fibromyalgia. One theory says that this fibromyalgia fatigue is caused by the Epstein Barr virus (EBV).

This theory also speaks about the relationship between Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue.


Patience often gets the credit

that belongs to fatigue.

-Franklin P. Jones


EBV is passed from one person to another by the sharing of food utensils, kissing, and through other means of close contact involving the saliva.

When EBV enters the cell, its aim is to take control of the body’s DNA and to reprogram it to make copies of itself (more virus). Alert to the invasion, the body’s immune system launches a counter attack by sending its killer cells to destroy it. In combating the virus, the immune system mass produces antibodies at a high rate of speed. These antibodies are a cause of fibromyalgia fatigue.

Symptoms caused by EBV often depend on the age of the individual. In young children, the symptoms seem to be the same as if they had a cold. These symptoms include sore throat, low-grade fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

In teenagers, the mononucleosis episode can last up to two months and symptoms can be more pronounced than in children. Teenagers may exhibit the above symptoms as well as allergies and enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits, groin, and neck.

If the EBV onset occurs in adulthood, the above symptoms may be even more severe. In addition, fever can be accompanied by night sweats, and there can be swelling in the spleen and liver, and extreme fatigue.

According to some estimates, over 90 percent of the adult population in the United States is infected with EBV. However, often the immune system can beat back the virus and the patient will recover, although the virus will likely establish a lifelong dormant infection. Other times, the immune system wins the battle only intermittently and the fatigue and other symptoms will then come and go. Still at other times, the battle can last a lifetime. In this case, the patient will always be plagued by fibromyalgia fatigue and aches and pains, recurrent sore throat, and other symptoms.

Epstein-Barr and chronic fatigue may go hand in hand

If the body is in a life-long battle, the system becomes weakened and confused and can even turn on itself. With this theory, the immune system sends forth antibodies that indiscriminately attack parts of its own body. This can lead to autoimmune illnesses such as lupus, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.

When the body’s antibodies attack the thyroid, the sufferer can have feelings of gloom and doom and depression that results in moodiness and irritability. The attack on the thyroid can also slow metabolism, thereby promoting weight gain. This can lead to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.

When EBV attacks nerve cells, the patient experiences peripheral nerve pain.

When EBV attacks muscles, the patient experiences inflammation of the muscles.

When EBV attacks the brain, it can cause brain swelling, seizures, deafness, and impairment in concentration and memory.

Invasion by EBV can also aggravate pre-existing conditions

The Epstein-Barr virus does not always launch an all out assault right away. Sometimes it lies dormant inside the cells and waits until the body wears itself down through alcohol and drug abuse, old age, or extreme stress.

Then it can take advantage of the body’s weakened state and may cause fibromyalgia fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome and other illnesses. Also, other viruses in the herpes family, such as the Human Herpes virus (HHV-6) and the cytomegalovirus can act in concert with EBV or can be the culprits themselves instead of EBV in causing fatigue and other symptoms, as well as illnesses. Even bacteria, fungi, and yeast can cause these illnesses instead of viruses.

There is no known method of ridding EBV from the cells, and in cases when the body is having a hard time beating back the virus, it needs “help from the trenches”.

This help comes in the form of YOU! If the immune system does not get help, it begins to lose the battle, and other opportunistic diseases such as cancer may eventually take root in the body. By supplying the immune system with what it needs, the body will be able to send the virus into remission. As a result, fatigue and other symptoms will be alleviated.

The beginning steps to help your immune system come through understanding what is going on in your body and by using a holistic approach which consists of proper nutrition, healthy exercise, vitamin supplements, homeopathic medicines, relaxation techniques, and emotional support.

In this way, the body will be able to repair itself when under attack from foreign invaders. 

works cited for fibromyalgia fatigue

Stoff, Jesse A., and Charles R. Pellegrino. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Hidden Epidemic. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. 6-31. Print.

Filed under cause chronic fatigue syndrome connection epstein barr virus fibromyalgia symptoms fatigue

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Fatigue in Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a form of non-inflammatory arthritis that affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your body. Fibromyalgia can be quite a debilitating syndrome because of the intense pain that it causes all over the body. However, pain is not the only symptom associated with the illness. Fibromyalgia is also associated with extreme fatigue, which can make the pain of the illness even harder to bear. It can also have a great impact on a person’s ability to go to work, take care of their family, or even engage in simple daily tasks.

A Tiring Subject
People who suffer from fibromyalgia have a lot to deal with. Not only do they often have intense pain, but up to 90% of sufferers also report moderate to severe fatigue. This fatigue isn’t just your run-of-the-mill sleepiness either – this fatigue can last all of the time and for months on end.

Effects of Fatigue in Sufferers
Not all people with the syndrome suffer from extreme fatigue – some people seem to escape this fibromyalgia symptom, while others find they are able to adjust to their newly reduced energy levels. But others find that this chronic fatigue really impacts their lives in a negative way. Most disturbing is the fact that this fatigue never seems to get better, even with extended periods of rest and sleep.

Excessive fatigue seems to have a negative impact on the symptoms of fibromyalgia, particularly pain. Fatigue and pain seem to operate in a vicious cycle. Because of the severe pain many people experience, it makes sleeping difficult and sometimes impossible. This of course contributes to fatigue, which, in turn, makes the pain much harder to bear. Recent studies have shown that the amount of fatigue a fibromyalgia sufferer experiences will directly correlate with the amount of pain they have. For example, if you are feeling particularly tired one morning, you can pretty much count on having an increased amount of fibromyalgia pain during the day.

The fatigue of fibromyalgia also limits the amount of exercise that a person can do. Fibromyalgia and exercise need to go hand in hand – people have to keep their muscles in shape in order to decrease their pain in the long run. But many sufferers find they are just too tired to do this exercise, and, as a result, their pain actually increases. More of the vicious cycle.

Fatigue also has a great impact on the psychological well being of those suffering from fibromyalgia. Fatigue heightens stress and emotions, which in turn increases the amount of pain that is experienced. Fatigue and depression have also been linked. Furthermore, fatigue may contribute to the memory loss and forgetfulness that often occurs with fibromyalgia.

Causes of Fatigue
People with fibromyalgia frequently report that they are easily fatigued after physical exercise and mental exertion. Many note being unable to fall asleep, sleeping very lightly, or suddenly awaking from very deep sleep. Could these be the causes of the fatigue or is something else at work? New research is being done by fibromyalgia doctors to investigate the causes of this extreme fatigue.

Pain: Some people simply explain the fatigue of fibromyalgia as a result of the pain. This makes general sense, except that at least 10% of sufferers report no problems with fatigue despite their pain. The overall consensus is that pain definitely contributes to fatigue, but it is probably not its underlying cause.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): The extreme fatigue that many fibromyalgia sufferers experience is very similar to that associated with CFS. CFS is usually diagnosed if you have experienced intense fatigue for a period of six months or longer. Many people with fibromyalgia may actually have CFS as well. These two syndromes are very similar and are often confused for one another. In fact, more than 75% of CFS sufferers have similar symptoms to those with fibromyalgia.

Sleep Disorders: Recently, researchers have been looking into the possibility that many fibromyalgia sufferers may actually have accompanying sleep disorders. Because so many people with the illness report extreme sleep disturbances, it appears likely that many people with fibromyalgia may actually have sleep disorders too.

Some studies have found that many fibromyalgia sufferers also have a problem with their ability to engage in deep sleep. Called the alpha EEG anomaly, this disorder is characterized by sudden brain activity during periods of deep sleep. This brain activity is seen on monitors as an alpha wave. These periods of activity may cause people to wake up or feel lest rested, contributing to fatigue.

A large number of those with fibromyalgia also suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a sleep disorder characterized by pain and twitching in the legs. The only way to stop this pain is to keep moving your legs, disturbing sleep considerably. RLS usually occurs at night, between the hours of 10pm and 4 am, though it can also occur during the day. People with RLS report feeling as if the skin on their lower legs is twitching, burning, crawling, or being pulled on. These feelings can last for over an hour at a time.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction: A more recent explanation for the extreme fatigue that accompanies fibromyalgia focuses on a problem with the body’s energy source. Mitochondria inside our cells convert nutrients and oxygen into energy for our body. A large number of fibromyalgia sufferers seem to have dysfunctional mitochondria, and thereby don’t have enough energy to power their bodies.

Filed under chronic fatigue syndrome effects of fatigue explanation fatigue fatigue and fibromyalgia fibromyalgia pain and fatigue symptom of fibromyalgia

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What is the “fatigue” like in “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”?

It’s not one thing. These are what I have identified as the “fatigues” of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — and if I think of any more descriptions, I’ll add them! I feel every one of these, almost every day. Want to call this thing chronic fatigue syndrome? Then let’s talk fatigue.

  1.  
      Achey fatigue. Every muscle feels overused. Just lie there aching.
      Heavy fatigue. My arms and legs feel heavy. Not fat heavy. Like cast iron. Like a cartoon, as if my body would leave an imprint where I was sitting or lying. Like sitting in the space capsule while the rocket takes off.heavy.
      The pause. Can’t move. Everything stops. There’s the conscious pause, when I want to reach out and get a glass of water and I can’t; and there’s the unconscious pause, where it just … stops. I realize I have been staring at the same thing for … I have no idea how long. There’s even the standing pause (real weird) - go in the kitchen to get something, then stop. Come out of it, don’t know what I was going to get or which direction I was supposed to be going in.
      3 a.m. in the morning fatigue. It’s 3 in the morning. The baby is crying. You have to get up. You have just not had enough sleep. You want nothing except to lie down and go back to sleep. Your eyes are scratchy. Your head is stuffed with cotton. It’s 3 p.m. for everybody else, but it’s always 3 a.m for us.
      "I want to sleep and I can’t" fatigue. Rather speaks for itself.
      "I can’t stay awake" fatigue. New one for me. Happened for the first time this summer when I went to Denver, and I think the high altitude did it. I spent two days drifting in and out of consciousness.
      Exhaustion fatigue. I can’t. I can’t go on. I can’t walk another step. I have to. I can’t. How am I going to make it up the stairs into bed? I don’t know. This is hell. Keep going. One foot in front of the other keep going. youcandoityoucandoityoucandoit. Exhaustion.
      All of the above. That’s what the “fatigue” in “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome” is like.

Mary Schweitzer, Copyright © 1998

Filed under fibromyalgia What is the fatigue like in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? fatigue explanation

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Personal Log - 3/10/11

Fatigue has been the name of the game this week. I’m supposed to be walking everyday now. I only made it out twice this week so far. And today I could walk no more than a quarter mile before I had to stop. Tuesday I could barely walk from my bed to the bathroom. I stumbled and almost fell many times. I could barely lift the tv remote. It seems to be getting a little better as the week progresses, but not by much. And I have a busy weekend ahead. Here’s to hoping I’ll make it through.

Filed under fibromyalgia personal log fatigue pain