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06/08/2011 05:55 AM

Exhaustion, Brain Fog, and Social Withdrawal

kym
kym  
Posts: 531
Member

Hey, guys.

I ran across an article this morning and had to post it here. I don't see it posted previously, although I didn't search extensively. I figure it won't hurt to repeat it. This stuff is news to me, even though the research was published over two years ago.

I think most of us experience sometimes overwhelming exhaustion and social withdrawal. And if you're like me, you ask the doctor why you're so darn tired all the time and you don't get any real answers (or help).

Well, here is the short answer: when there is inflammation going on in your body, the brain triggers the creation of chemicals that both attract and send monocytes (white blood cells specialized for immune response) to the brain.

This reaction is about the body making a priority of protecting your brain from any invaders that may cross the blood-brain barrier. It is a naturally good thing, but it causes disabling symptoms, like fatigue, brain fog, and social withdrawal.

So yes, it's "all in your head" but not in the imaginary realm. The fatigue is a marker of inflammation, which happens in RA even if we're not flaring.

The hopeful thing about the research is that there may be a way to isolate this particular response and at least partially block it without too much risk of infection.

The caveat is that these studies were done on mice, and the human response may not be exactly the same. I'll look for follow-up studies and further research later today.

Here is a link to the article:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/ 090217173034.htm

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06/08/2011 07:57 AM
PauleR
PauleR  
Posts: 1847
Group Leader

Thank you, Kym. I liked your condensed version since my brain fog left me not even thinking about looking at the site. I will soon, though, but at least I understand why my brain is the way it is.

Dizzy


06/08/2011 09:14 AM
Cata
Cata  
Posts: 2095
Group Leader

Wow! This is SO interesting!!! I didn't know this... For me it is so very helpful to understand WHY things happen in my body. Everyone handles things differently; for me, it is calming to understand the causes behind what i feel. I am always pushing for ALL the info and drs are sometimes afraid to facilitate it in case i freak out on them, lol. But i am just too rational to go around not understanding, information does make me feel better, more in control.

What you expalin about immune response and the brain makes all the sense in the world, doesn't it? Whan i get an infection of any kind i get the exact same overwhelming fatigue i get when i flare. And i can't think. That is why i broke my leg the second time. I had a UTI, i made a bad judgement call, i got tangled and fell. Had i not been so fatigued and my brain so slow i probably would not have fell. Sigh.

Our poor bodies, if you think about it, they are in the state of fighting an invader ALL THE TIME! Whether flaring or not. No wonder why it feels tired... Healthy bodies get to rest some times, ours don't...

And who can avoid social withdrowal feeling like this? I am still weak and without huge amounts of energy yet. Recently i told someone i could not go and do something later because i had to wash my hair that day. Wash my hair! Obviously i got the alien look in their face. And how to blame them, who can possibly understand our levels of energy from a healthy stand?

Imagine how it will be when they find a way to control fatigue! It will be so different. Pain will be more manageable. RA will be more maneageable.


06/08/2011 10:20 AM
claphappy
claphappy  
Posts: 4072
Group Leader

Iv'e had these problems and the social withdrawal was one I never quite understood. I don't take progesterone and only recently have started to take anti inflammatories. I knew it had to be connected. This tells me how. Thanks. CLAP

06/08/2011 08:13 PM
scorpioj
scorpioj  
Posts: 1515
VIP Member

Thanks Kym,

This makes it simple to understand and is very good information to have. The overwhelming fatigue is going to be there, knowledge as to why-gives us power.


06/09/2011 02:27 AM
bits
bits  
Posts: 10912
VIP Member

Finally...a straight answer to my question of why. For me, the pain can be horrific at times, but I do have meds to help control it. Happily, it does most of the time. However, I have yet, except my time of remission, to have any control of overwhelming fatigue and/or flu-like symptoms.

Actually, rheumy says there are meds that can help BUT (and this is s big BUT) they will harm the heart. i say, "No thanks."

Because of this I am 90% homebound. I have a house cleaner in weekly because I can not do needed chores. Hubby does much of the cooking and nearly all shopping and errands.

Even with my battles of 5 major abd surgeries, within 3 years, and 2 cases of Hospital Aquired MRSA, I could feel my strength build daily. I do not feel it with RA. Truth is I feel sick. Even on my best good days my strength is low.

Maybe if I could take RA meds again, maybe we could slow down the progression. Sigh...

Still, I have exquisive moments. Thank you, Lord.


06/09/2011 02:52 AM
familylove
familylove  
Posts: 60
Member

You know MRSA is a hideous condition that truly takes its toll on the body. Add that to multiple surgeries and you have a crock pot of reasons for fatigue! I am so sorry your going through all of this! As crazy as it sounds, low impact exercise ( especially swimming or water aerobics) can really help with the fatigue. Your body still wants and needs a little kick start for the muscles and circulation. Mental stimulation goes along way also. Book clubs, prayer groups or even art classes can be short events, but very helpful in getting you out of the house and back into life some more. Even reading to little ones in a day care can do wonders for the body and soul. When I was taking Pycnogenol regularly ( 4-5 daily or 1 pill per 25 pounds of body weight), I had extraordinary energy AND no joint swelling! This was way before I knew about my RA and I plan on returning to it. Be blessed and stay strong!Wink We never get more than we can endure from our Creator!
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