Tag Archives: chronic fatigue

Just what is the best Sugar to use!!!!

We’ve all heard about how sugar causes obesity, diabetes, and a bunch of other chronic diseases.

We’ve also heard how it costs the United States over $150 billion dollars each year in medical expenses.
Or how leading health figures like the Dutch health minister, Paul Van der Velpen, proclaim sugar to be worse than alcohol, tobacco, and cocaine combined.

It’s all true.
Sugar can be extremely hazardous to your health.
But this depends on two critical factors…
1. How much sugar you consume.
2. What kind of sugar you eat.

Consumed in moderation, sugar is a helpful source of energy. That is… provided you get it from the right sources.
We humans evolved to get our sugar by eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and yes, even honey. Your body knows how to extract the maximum benefit from these whole foods.
Honey, in particular, has three critical healing effects…
First, honey supports your immune system and fights off harmful bacteria.
As you know, your body is under constant assault by numerous viruses and bacteria that threaten to tire you out, make you sick, and even kill you.
Fighting off this threat is key to staying healthy.
One of the vital components in honey is an enzyme called glucose oxidase. This enzyme, when exposed to oxygen, produces hydrogen peroxide — a strong acid that dissolves the cell walls of bacteria. (Most human cells have thicker cell walls and can resist the low amounts of acid honey produces.)
This makes honey a powerful tool for fighting skin infections, healing wounds, and otherwise supporting your immune system. (And its why honey is able to last for so long in your cupboard without going bad.)
Second, it supplies the “building blocks” for healthy cells.
In addition to giving you sugars, honey equips your body with a complex array of proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. The second these nutrients hit your body, they go to work…
 
Tuning up your heart, lungs, stomach, brain, eyes, and skin…
Controlling cancer-causing free-radicals and stopping cell damage in its tracks…
Detoxifying your body of harmful pollutants and other toxins.
 

However, honey still has a very high sugar content (70%-85% depending on the type of honey you get.) And as just about any health official will tell you, sugar is a major cause of obesity, diabetes, and all the other chronic illnesses we see in abundance today.
So shouldn’t we avoid honey despite its antimicrobial and nutritional properties?
Well, that brings me to the third healing effect of honey. It turns out…

You’ve probably experienced just how rapidly most sugar burns in your body — how it gives you a sudden surge of energy followed shortly by a complete crash.
Yet when you eat honey, you don’t get that same “flare effect”. Instead you get a slow, even burn of energy — which you can put to use for things like working, playing sports, or spending time with your family.
That’s because all the extra enzymes and nutrients in honey not only help the body rebuild itself — they also regulate how the body uses the sugar.
It’s kind of like the flame on your stove.
Contained and controlled by the burner, valves, and the rest of the stove, you can safely use the fire for cooking.
But take that flame out of context — by putting it on your living room floor for example — it can quickly burn out of control and cause all kinds of damage.
 

In the same way, sugars eaten outside their normal context of whole, complete foods run riot in our bodies — leaving us exhausted, overweight, and sick.
Unfortunately, as you know…

The sugar you find in grocery stores, processed foods, and packaged desserts is made in large scale, industrial refineries using cheap, mass-farmed crops like sugar beets.
Food manufacturers extract the sugary pulp from the rest of the plant.
They strip away all trace of healthy minerals and nutrients.
And they leave you with a hyper-concentrated dose of empty calories that cause all kinds of chaos in your body.
Without the “burn-control” you normally get when you eat sugar that’s part of a whole food, the body can’t control the fire. And so we end up with…
 
Heart disease
Weight gain
Chronic fatigue
Weak immune systems
Gut problems
Cancer
And more…
 

It’s not just white sugar either. Many so-called “natural sweeteners” like raw sugar, corn syrup, and agave nectar are all highly refined. One study done at Princeton found these alternatives cause just as much (if not far more) damage to your body than white sugar.
The body just doesn’t know how to properly use these concentrated, “unnatural” sugars.
So why do we even bother with these harmful sweeteners in the first place? Why don’t we all just use honey?
The short answer: Profit.
The long answer: What I like to call…

See, there are several major problems with honey. It’s simple. It’s un-patentable. And it’s not as cheap to manufacture in mass quantities as refined-sugar.
That makes selling processed sugar far more PROFITABLE than selling honey.
How profitable?
Well, according to Business Communications Company, Inc. (BCC) research, the sugar industry was worth over $77.5 billion in 2012. (And that doesn’t include the even larger market for selling processed foods containing that sugar.)
But this is only half of the story…
As I mentioned earlier, sugar causes a spike in your blood-sugar levels followed by a HUGE crash.
Because your blood-sugar level is a key signal for appetite and hunger, this crash triggers major warning alarms in your body. Your brain starts thinking that you’re starving to death.
And in response, it compels you to eat immediately — especially foods that have quick, cheap calories like sugar.
You’ve probably felt those powerful cravings before… Those times where you just have to eat a sugary donut or piece of candy (even after eating a full meal).
They’re virtually impossible to resist. (No matter how much willpower you have.)
The end result is you end up eating even more sugar, which creates another spike and crash in your blood-sugar levels.
And so the more sugar you eat, the more your body craves it. It’s an unending cycle.
Said another way…
Big food companies know this.
They’re well aware of how easy it is to make you hooked on sugar (and in turn, the products they sell).
So they go to extreme lengths to convince you to keep buying…
They spend millions of dollars in advertising each year to push foods scientifically proven to harm our health (a vast majority of which gets aimed at young children).
They “bribe” government officials to prevent ANY health regulations on sugar (just like the tobacco industry did to try and stop restrictions on the sale of cigarettes).
They sponsor bogus scientific studies and research to show their products are “healthy” and are “not bad for you”.

It’s all one big  And because of it…
We get ballooning levels of obesity, chronic fatigue, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer (even among children).
We get the bill for five, six, and even seven-figure medical expenses.
We get a deteriorating quality of life… more weight gain, more sickness, more pain.
And as for honey… you’re never going to hear about it on TV. No one’s going to run a Super Bowl ad for raw, local honey.
For all the scientific research standing behind honey, big industry has done everything possible to drown it with a sea of marketing and manipulation.

“Enough Is Enough!”
 
This is why I’m writing to you today.
I knew I had to get this truth to as many people as possible. I had to spread the word about the healing power of honey.
So I called up my friend Jake Carney of The Alternative Daily.
Jake and I have a lot in common. We’re both surfers. We’re both laid back, mellow guys. And we both know first-hand how healing natural foods can be.
But most importantly, we both share a firm commitment to science.
Jake refuses to publish anything that doesn’t have solid research standing behind it. (In fact, he told me recently that he had to veto an article by one of his writers because it wasn’t scientifically grounded enough.)
That’s why he and The Alternative Daily have earned the trust of over 1 million emails subscribers.

I knew he was the perfect person to help get this message out.
And so together, we’re inviting you to join…

Jake, his team, and I have sifted through the vast scientific literature. We’ve dug deep to find what’s true (and what isn’t). And we’ve compiled the very best honey research, facts and remedies into a single book.
We’re proud to introduce to you… The Honey Phenomenon – How This Liquid Gold HEALS Your Ailing Body
Everything is presented in layman terms. (And for those who want to dive deeper, we include links to all the scientific studies.)
In this delicious guide, you’ll discover…
 
The sugars that you must avoid to hold onto your health. (Caution: these are everywhere!)
As with any sweets, moderation is key. Learn how you can use far less honey than white sugar in your cooking (and still maintain the same level of sweetness).
The “gift enzyme” bees provide that lets us take full advantage of the energy and nutrition found in honey. (Refined sugars, in comparison, force the body to use its own precious reserve of this enzyme before we can process them.)
Should you start brushing your teeth with honey? Maybe. Find out how research says it to be “effective” for reducing plaque and fighting gingivitis (even more than commercial mouthwashes)!
How honey reduces Homocysteine levels in the blood stream… decreasing your risk of heart attacks, stoke, and even Alzheimers!
And so much more…
 

But the health revolution doesn’t stop there. Honey is far more than just a “better sweetener”. That’s because…

Did you know that hospitals all over the world are turning to honey as the medication of choice for a number of conditions… including for wounds and burns?
This is in response to the growing body of research highlighting how effective honey is at killing dangerous infections and accelerating wound healing.
And in The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll see…

 
What to do with infected wounds that refuse to heal. (And how I used honey to successfully treat my mother-in-law when her leg got infected after surgery.)
The troubling report from the World Health Organization about how modern drugs are failing to keep us safe from genetically mutated “superbugs.” (Research shows honey devastates even the most resistant strains of MSRA and other antibiotic resistant bacteria.)
A recent study in New Zealand found honey heals burn wounds twice as fast as traditional dressings. Find out when it’s best to use honey for burns (and when you should seek medical attention.)
Taking care of a baby with diaper rash? Throw out the ointment and grab the honey! (Research reveals honey is just as effective.)
Got a painful rash or ulcer? See how one study found honey to be 4 times more effective than traditional dressings!
 
But that’s not the only thing honey does…
Follow in the footsteps of Queen Cleopatra, one of the most magnetic and seductive women in human history. Her big beauty secret? Honey.
Historical documents say she relied on honey to keep her skin smooth, fresh, and moist… even in the scorching hot, dry Egyptian air.

In The Honey Phenomenon, we’ll show you…
How honey sucks moisture from the air and stops your skin from drying out (giving you a healthy, youthful glow).
Could honey be the secret to slowing baldness? See what participants in one study did to get “markedly less hair loss”… without using expensive hair creams, conditioners, or treatments!
The toxic ingredients found in most skin-care products(and the alternatives you should use instead).
Tired of white flakes of dandruff ruining the glamour of your black dress or dark suit? Try out this homemade, honey “conditioner”. (It only takes one week for noticeable results!)

Feeling run down? Don’t, because…
When your metabolism is running in high gear, your body incinerates body fat and floods your system with an abundance of energy.

Unfortunately, there are a number of disorders that can throw your metabolism out of balance — leaving you exhausted and making it nearly impossible to lose weight.
One answer, according to the latest science, may just be honey.
And in The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll uncover…
The difference in how your body stores excess energy from honey compared to refined sugars. Hint… processed sugar goes straight to ugly body fat.
Conventional wisdom says that people with diabetes should avoid ALL sugar and sweets. However, some surprising research about honey suggests otherwise. Find out why eating some honey may be OK for people with diabetes.
The reason honey improves fat metabolism and disposal… and lets you quickly burn away unwanted fat on your belly, thighs, and face.
How honey’s “slow release” effect provides your body with a stable, even burn of energy. (No more dangerous blood-sugar crashes that leave you miserable and cranky.)
That’s not all. Are you looking for a clean breath of fresh air?

Ah, springtime — the season for warm weather, blossoming flowers, and for 40 million Americans… seasonal allergies.
But you don’t have to suffer the itchy eyes, constant sneezing, and runny noses any longer. In The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll learn…
One answer, according to the latest science, may just be honey. And in The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll uncover…
How this specific type honey inoculates you against many seasonal allergies. Breathe easy as you play outside with your kids (even while trees create “dust-storms” of pollen).
Certain fungal infections in the sinus can cause serious inflammation and pain… and traditional nasal sprays only make matters worse. Use this homemade, honey-based spray instead (step by step recipe included).
Got a persistent, annoying cough keeping you awake at night? Reclaim your sleep with this research-backed “honey and coffee” cough syrup. (It clears even the most stubborn cases.)
Does the word “cancer” make you nervous? Don’t let it, because…

Everyone knows that when it comes to cancer, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And the very best prevention is helping the body maintain healthy cells.

 
Why honey is the sweetener of choice for those with cancer(including colon cancers, leukemia, breast cancers, and more).
How the “super-power” antioxidants found in honey help your body stop cancer before it starts. (Even trace amounts of these antioxidants promote rapid growth of healthy tissue.)
The preliminary studies in animals that show how honey may help inhibit the spread of leukemia cells.
Side-effects of cancer treatments can sometimes be as painful as the cancer itself. See how you can use honey to treat and prevent painful radiation damage.
Now — all this may sound too good to be true. I didn’t believe it either until I saw the mountains of research proving what the wonders honey can do for your health.
A single spoonful of honey is packed with over 16 types of antioxidants — all of which rebuild the cells in your body, fight free-radical damage, and combat aging.
And in The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll see…
Yet as you’ve seen here, this one simple sweetener you can purchase right off the shelf of your local grocer can:
 
Heal and beautify your skin
Treat persistent infections
Fuel your metabolism
Boost your immune system
Help fight cancer
And much, much more…
 

But there are still some very important things you MUST know to benefit the most from honey…
 

Just a few years ago, researchers launched an in-depth investigation on jars, jugs, and plastic bears of honey sold across 10 different states. Their discovery… 76% of honey sold in stores was “not real honey”!
These “ultra-purified” honeys were found to be highly processed, contain no traces of pollen… and come LOADED with added sugar, corn syrup, and other dangerous chemicals. You’ve got to be careful.
We’ve got you covered though.
In The Honey Phenomenon, you’ll discover…
The best source for honey. (It’s not the grocery store.)
Don’t trust the label. Honey manufactures aren’t required to tell you if they’ve added sugar or other junk into your honey. Use these two quick tests in your kitchen to make sure you have 100%, real honey.
At what age it’s safe to feed honey to kids. (Children younger than this have immature immune systems that are at risk for a rare, but potentially FATAL condition.)
Which type of honey is ideal for medicinal uses. (Unfortunately, most supermarkets don’t have it on their shelves.)
The one type of honey you MUST avoid. A single tablespoon of this can cause hallucinations, brain damage, and even death. It’s so potent that soldiers in ancient times would feed it to their enemies.
The Honey Phenomenon contains everything you need to know to take advantage of the honey’s healing power for yourself. It details all the leading scientific research and most effective treatments. And, it shows you exactly what honey to look for (and what honey to avoid).
But I wanted to make it even easier for you to get started with honey.
That’s why I’m also including these two exclusive bonuses with your purchase of The Honey Phenomenon – How This Liquid Gold HEALS Your Ailing Body.
 

The Honey Phenomenon CookBook: 25 Healing Recipes
a $10.00 value, Yours FREE!
We’ve gathered together our favorite recipes to get help you incorporate honey into your diet… be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and, of course, dessert. You’ll see…

 
The “wine-like” variety of flavors and varieties found in honey. (Find out which types work best for salad dressings, grilling, and baking.)
Did you know that most yogurt is loaded with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup? Use this healthy alternative instead.
A honey-lemon “cleansing tea” to start your day with… a great way to detox your body.
Honey is great for far more than desserts. And after trying these chicken, vegetable, and soup dishes, you’ll see exactly why. (Hint… they’re delicious!)
And much more…
 

The Honey Phenomenon CookBook: Reverse Aging with Liquid Gold
a $10.00 value, Yours FREE!
Do you know what’s in your skin-care products? Many of the beauty products we use every day contain dangerous chemicals and artificial ingredients (many of which have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, hormone disruption, and other long term illnesses).
In this guide, we share cheap, easy to make, all-natural alternatives you can use instead. Such as…

 
A two-ingredient makeup remover that takes off makeup… without striping your skin of its moisture or natural oils.
Out in the sun too long? Turn the burn into a tan with our “honey sunburn treatment”.
Bring the spa to your home with this steam and honey face mask. The honey will naturally capture the steam’s moisture, leaving you feeling fresh and clean.
Banish bad breath with this simple rinse (you can mix this up in seconds right before a business meeting or date).
And much more…
 
You won’t find a more concentrated source of disease-fighting, beauty-enhancing, life-extending honey secrets anywhere!
 
 

I suppose if you wanted to, you could spend hours scouring dubious sites on the internet for this information.

You could trust and hope that the scientific studies you look at (out of THOUSANDS published) are credible and aren’t “tainted” by big industry money.
You could risk using you and your loved ones as “lab rats” to figure out which remedies work — not knowing for sure whether you’re helping… or making things worse.
Or, for a single payment of $39, can get instant access to The Honey Phenomenon (plus the two bonus eBooks).
You can get the peace of mind that that every fact, treatment, and recommendation inside has the been verified by trustworthy, peer-reviewed science and by my over 15 years of experience as a practicing medical doctor.
However, that’s not all…
As I mentioned earlier, I already have a thriving medical practice (which has been rated as Connecticut’s leading natural health center for the last 7 years).
And I’m not here just to make a quick buck.
I’ll happily trade a few dollars if it gets this healing information into the hands of even more people.
That’s why I went back to Jake and asked him if he’d be willing to “sweeten the deal” for you. And because he shares my mission of spreading this message, he agreed.
So instead of paying $39… If you order today, you can get access to everything for just $10.
But be sure to act quickly. I can’t guarantee Jake will keep the price this low forever.
If you’re ready to find out for yourself just how honey can do heal your body. Just click the button below.
You’re going to love it.
In fact, we’re so confident you’ll love these healing, honey secrets that your order is backed by…
Try The Honey Phenomenon today risk free. Our 60-day money back guarantee is your security blanket. You’re always backed by The Alternative Daily’s iron clad guarantee of satisfaction. If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your e-book and your two special healthy honey eBooks, let us know.

As a doctor, I’m a huge believer in making decisions based on evidence — both in terms of scientific research and first-hand experience.
That’s why we’re giving you the chance to try out The Honey Phenomenon totally risk-free for 60 days.
Read through the scientific research presented in the book. Sample some honey. Try a few of the remedies.
And if for any reason, or for no reason at all, you decide you aren’t fully satisfied with your purchase, just send us a note and we’ll refund 100% of your money. No questions asked. No hassles.

By the way, I never did quite finish the story of Rachel and Kevin that I mentioned earlier.
Rachel did end up taking my recommendation.
And her son’s cough did disappear in a couple days.
But there’s one detail about her story (and the many stories like hers) that keeps playing over in my mind…
She had honey at home already.
The treatment for her son’s illness was sitting in her cupboard all along. Unused. Untouched.
If only she had known.
Maybe I’m biased about this because I’m a doctor…
But don’t we owe it to ourselves to uncover the truth about our bodies?
Don’t we owe it to our kids and families to be informed about the simple, healing foods in our kitchens?
Isn’t it our responsibility to know what science says about our health?
I encourage you today to take a small step on that journey…
Discover for yourself the healing miracle of honey.
Be someone who knows.
 
Yours healthily,
 
  Dr. Joshua Levitt, N.D

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Eight common warning signs of Gluten Intolerance!

Eight Common Warning Signs Of Gluten Intolerance
By Barbara Diamond
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Sure, the word “gluten” has become somewhat of a buzzword lately — but gluten intolerance isn’t just a fad.

Despite what many people may think, gluten intolerance isn’t a food allergy and does not signify celiac disease. Rather, it’s a condition in your gut, and it can have a negative impact on one’s overall lifestyle and well-being.

According to Food Renegade, “undigested gluten proteins (prevalent in wheat and other grains) hang out in your intestines and are treated by your body like a foreign invader, irritating your gut and flattening the microvilli along the small intestine wall. Without those microvilli, you have considerably less surface area with which to absorb the nutrients from your food.”

We know that debilitating pain, vomiting, and diarrhea after eating are surefire signs of a serious gastrointestinal condition — but when looking at gluten intolerance, many of these universal signs may sound quite general and vague. However, those who remain undiagnosed may continue to eat gluten for the rest of their lives, putting themselves at risk for autoimmune and other diseases, along with a wide array of exhausting, frustrating, and uncomfortable symptoms.

Scroll down to see eight common signs of gluten intolerance, and please make sure to consult your doctor if you’re experiencing severe forms of any of the following symptoms.

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1. Stomach Pain
1. Stomach Pain
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

You know what they say: Listen to your gut.

Digestive issues are perhaps the most obvious sign of gluten intolerance. After eating foods containing gluten, you may often experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. According to Digestion Relief Center, eating foods that contain gluten can damage the lining of the small intestine, and can lead to poor absorption of minerals, vitamins, and most of the food you eat.
2. Dizziness
2. Dizziness
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Many people with gluten intolerance experience brain fog, disorientation, and a strange feeling of being off-balance after consuming foods made with gluten — but they fail to connect the dots.

That frequent feeling of cloudiness isn’t normal, and by eliminating gluten from your diet, you may feel that cloud lifted. Some people have actually seen a decrease in vertigo attacks after cutting gluten from their diet.
3. Mood Swings
3. Mood Swings
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Think about it… If your gut is unhappy with the foods you eat, then your brain will be, too. People with gluten intolerance often find themselves unexplainably irritable, anxious, or upset.

The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 diseases caused or exacerbated by eating gluten, which included depression and anxiety.
4. Chronic Migraine
4. Chronic Migraine
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Headaches are highly common for people with gluten intolerance. While it’s not associated with one specific type of headache, the pattern typically occurs within 30 to 60 minutes after eating.

Frequent migraines can also lead to blurry vision and pain around the eye sockets.
5. Itchy Skin
5. Itchy Skin
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

When your intestines have trouble processing gluten, they become inflamed, which can outwardly “reveal” itself through the skin. That’s why gluten sensitivity is often associated to skin conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. The immune system responds to an unhappy digestive system by creating antibodies that can cause dry, itchy skin.

These symptoms may result in many sleepless nights spent scratching at your knees, elbows, fingers, and/or shins.
6. Fibromyalgia
6. Fibromyalgia
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It affects about 4 percent of the U.S. population, and mostly women.

According to many health professionals, avoiding gluten can alleviate fibromyalgia. As Medicine Net reports, rheumatology experts like Alex Shikhman, M.D., believe the diversity of dietary approaches may have less to do with the impact on fibromyalgia, and more to do with treating a secondary, possibly undiagnosed illness. “When patients are helped by a specific dietary measure, it is often because of the presence of a secondary condition that does have a recognized response to diet. And when you take care of that, you do get some relief from all the symptoms. You feel better overall.”

Makes sense, right?
7. Chronic Fatigue
7. Chronic Fatigue
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

It also makes total sense that if your body is out of whack and your mind is up and down, you’d also feel tired and exhausted. Even if you get eight to nine hours of sleep, you may still wake up feeling drained; this can signify a much bigger problem.

When your body is always inflamed and spending its energy on trying to deal with unwanted gluten proteins, then your energy will be spent much quicker and easier than normal.
8. Lactose Intolerance
8. Lactose Intolerance
LittleThings / Heeral Chhibber

Gluten and dairy intolerance have very similar symptoms, and sometimes the two go hand-in-hand. This is probably the most surprising sign of gluten intolerance, but it’s a big one.

If lactose is already a dietary issue for you, then chances are gluten is, too. There’s a specific type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products that can trigger digestive issues and add on to the already uncomfortable symptoms of gluten intolerance. Dairy foods are also a common trigger for acid reflux, which is also linked to gluten intolerance.

Please SHARE this important information with all those who may have been experiencing symptoms!

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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/fibromyalgia really like?

Nobody Knows What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Fibromyalgia is Really Like (Probably Not Even You)
By Dan Neuffer

When I first published my book and started my website, one of the most common bits of feedback I received was “This guy really understands what it’s like to have ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia”. Some of those responses were quite emotional!

Well, having been ill with it for nearly 7 years, of course I understood. And I, like everyone else, felt that amazing relief and validation when I first spoke to other people with the illness, even though it was very late in my journey, about 6-7 years after I first got ill.

There is something amazing in hearing someone else experience the same frustrations, the same injustices as you have. Because no matter how much you try to explain what you are going through, other people simply don’t truly understand. They cannot understand, because their whole frame of reference is on a completely different plane! What they describe as exhaustion or pain would often be like relief for us.

And nobody gets what’s it’s like to suffer day in day out, week in week out. Nobody gets how this affects you when months turns into years, NOBODY, probably not even YOU! That’s something I only realized long after recovering!

This was highlighted to me again recently, when I interviewed someone that I coached to recovery after 15 years of illness. We looked at some footage of himself discussing his illness and experience a couple years earlier, and he started to cry. When I asked him why, he explained how he could see the suffering he had been experiencing, he could see how he was trying to hold it all together back then.
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But of course we feel we know how much we suffer. After all, we experience it every day, right? Well, I personally don’t think most people really realize the real extent of it, whilst they are still sick. Let me explain what I mean by sharing some of my own experience.

During my years with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia, like most people, I tried my best to live some sort of normal life. And so on my ‘good’ days (when I was not experiencing a flare up), I would try to do the normal things that other people do with their families. One of these was going to a local amusement park SeaWorld, where the kids could enjoy the animals and the rides.

It was about a year after I had recovered, I had been very busy with work and doing some heavy duty work around the house, when we got tickets to visit SeaWorld again. I was very sore and tired that day, LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, due to the physical work around the house. As we spent our day having fun, doing all the usual things, it felt like it was my first time there. We just had such a great time with the kids, making every little experience like some grand adventure.

But as I walked that familiar ground of the park, including the queues, I suddenly realized the true extent of my suffering all those years. Because even though I was tired and sore from all the work around the house, the whole thing was of course completely easy. Easy to walk through the park, to line up, to enjoy! Easy to sit down, stand up, to check the map, everything was easy.

Sitting on a particular park bench, I suddenly felt a sense of déjà vu. I connected strongly with the emotions and feelings I had experienced all those times I visited in my sick years and as I did so, I felt a wave of emotion flooding over me. I realized just how hard it had been to do anything, even during my ‘good’ days. It was only the contrast of the ease of doing things now, that showed me the true depth of my difficulties during those years.

It was a strange feeling, as I kind of felt very sorry for ‘that person’, that former me who had dragged themselves around, looking every moment for some respite. “Where I can I sit down?” “What can I lean against?”. “What should I eat or drink to get through the day?” “How much longer until we go?” “How far do I have to walk next?”

There was little joy in any of that, I was suffering so severely by simply being out of the house. I realized that I had been so distracted by trying to hold things together back then, that by simply trying to cope all those years, I lost my frame of reference for what was reasonable.

I realized that I had pushed myself beyond anything that anybody would have thought was reasonable. If a healthy person suddenly experienced what I was experiencing back then, they would not drag themselves on trying to be normal, but would have lied down and maybe called an ambulance.

The question came up “Why did I push so hard?” I had worked so hard! I had tried so hard to maintain some semblance of normality – and it had cost me so much!

The realization of what I had gone through really hit home. I knew it was difficult in those years, but suddenly I had a whole new perspective about them and I felt a deep sense of grief about myself for having to suffer through all that.
Fibromyalgia Summit

This realization is not unique to me, I have seen it in many other people that recovered who were sick for longer periods of time.

I realized that if I could go back to when I was ill and speak to myself, I would say – “don’t try so hard Dan”. I would say “it’s OK not to be able to do things” – “it’s OK to just rest”.

I realized though, that I had given up any hope of significant improvement or recovery; that I thought that this, as bad as it was, was as good as it was going to get. If this was as good as it was going to get, if nothing was going to change, then I was going to do my best, even if it cost me greatly, to lead as much of a normal life as I could. The pull to maintain any semblance of normalcy was terribly strong.

It’s not just the physical stress. It’s also the mental stress; the worrying about how it will turn out; the fear that I might get worse or might never get better – the fear that I might be this way for the rest of my life.

If I had known that recovery was possible, though, if I had known that there was an end in sight, then perhaps I would have given myself more of a break. Like when you have the flu, you just take a time out.

But when you think there is no end in sight – you just push on don’t you? And as you do so, over time, many (if not all) of us simply lose perspective of what normal is. We get so focused on holding it together and doing what we can and trying to get well, that we never get the opportunity to step back and look at our experience objectively. Most of the people I have spoken to, seem to only realize the full extent of their experience after they have recovered.

But if you really feel like you are in the doldrums right now, then perhaps your best step forward is first to find a way to feel a little better, a little more hope and to feel a little more able to cope. And reaching out to a counselor or friend may be your first step.

Having lived with the illness for years myself and having seen others get stuck in these awful low places, I wrote a little book called Discover Hope : 34 Steps To Find Hope and To Cope with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. It’s a short easy to read book that could help you find a more positive place from which you can hopefully start taking action to improve your health and your life. So if you’re feeling a bit low, then hopefully it can give you a little boost and help you change your perspective.

The book can be read on any computer device using the kindle reading apps, and is available for free from time to time from Amazon (currently free from 12th May 16 to 14th May 16, you can check the link to confirm the next free dates).

Simply check my website here for more details on how to get it.
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What is Dysautonomia?

What is Dysautonomia?

Dysautonomia is a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, or ANS.  The autonomic nervous system controls all those “automatic” body functions you don’t have to think about, like heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, digestion, respiration and perspiration. There are several types of dysautonomia, including postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (“POTS”), which I have. I may use POTS or dysautonomia to describe my condition in this blog, since POTS is a form of dysautonomia. But not everyone who has dysautonomia has POTS.

As I only have POTS, this blog will primarily focus on that form of dysautonomia. For information on the other types, visit this website.

What is POTS?

As mentioned above, POTS stands for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. If you break it down, postural = position of the body, orthostatic = standing upright, tachycardia = fast heart rate, syndrome = collection of symptoms.  Therefore, POTS literally means fast heart rate while standing. POTS is characterized by an increase in heart rate of 30 beats per minute (bpm) or more upon standing, and/or a heart rate above 120bpm upon standing.

When we stand up, gravity pulls blood towards our feet. Normal bodies respond by making slight adjustments to keep the blood pumping throughout the body. However, for those with POTS, the body has a difficult time counteracting gravity, and as a result, our heart rate increases drastically and the ANS has difficulty controlling blood flow. This results in many seemingly unrelated symptoms.

What are the symptoms of POTS?

As mentioned above, POTS can cause an array of symptoms, many of which seem unrelated at first. This is why POTS sufferers may have difficulty in getting diagnosed. Some of the common symptoms of POTS are:

  • tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • digestive problems
  • nausea
  • pain
  • migraines
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • hypotension
  • hypertension
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • difficulty regulating body temperature
  • light/sound/vibration sensitivity
  • blood pooling in the extremities
  • visual disturbances
  • fainting
  • exercise intolerance
  • fatigue
  • chest pain
  • heart palpitations
  • weakness
  • brain fog/cognitive difficulties
  • anxiety
  • increased adrenaline
  • insomnia

How is POTS diagnosed?

POTS is typically diagnosed by a tilt table test.  During a tilt table test, the patient is strapped to a table in the supine position. The patient is hooked up to monitors so heart rate and blood pressure can be monitored throughout the test. Once the physician begins the test, the table tilts vertically until the table is about 70% vertical. As the patient is strapped to the table, s/he will not fall and risk injury if fainting occurs.

Sounds like a fun ride, right? However, for someone with POTS, it is an extremely uncomfortable test.

Once the table has been tilted upright, the patient describes any symptoms to the physician. Heart rate and blood pressure are monitored and recorded to detect any changes. The test usually lasts 30-40 minutes, or until the patient faints. If the patient’s heart rate increases by 30bpm or exceeds 120bpm upon tilt of the table, it is determined he or she has POTS.

Is there a cure for POTS?

No, currently there is no cure for POTS. The condition is managed by treating the symptoms.

What causes POTS?

Teenagers who have POTS develop the condition around the time of puberty, thought to be caused by rapid growth. Some develop POTS secondary to another condition, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Others develop POTS after sustaining trauma, such as a car accident, surgery, etc. Viruses or prolonged bed rest can also lead to POTS. It is suspected that my case of POTS resulted from a virus I picked up while studying in the Czech Republic, although there is no way to confirm that.

Does POTS ever go away?

Teenagers or young adults who develop POTS during their growing years will likely eventually “outgrow” POTS. For others it may be permanent.

Who can get POTS?

POTS patients are typically women (4 out of every 5 POTS patients) of child-bearing age. POTS can be genetic and passed from mother to child. It is estimated that 1 out of every 100 teenagers has POTS. As a comparison, the Autism Society reports that 1 in every 88 children has autism. So, while information about POTS may be rare, the condition itself is far from it.

What is the difference between chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)?

I use CFS and ME interchangeably. Some think they are separate conditions, but the symptoms and effects are extremely similar. Thus far, the term “CFS” is used more in America, and “ME” is used more in other parts of the world. Personally, I support the name ME or myalgic encephalomyelitis, because I find CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome to be misleading. CFS makes it sound like someone is just really tired, whereas ME/CFS is actually much more than that, as you will see below. So, at least for purposes of this blog, I will use the term ME/CFS.

What is ME/CFS?

There is little consensus among the medical community regarding a proper definition of ME/CFS. Personally, I support this one:

ME/CFS is a severe, complex neurological disease that affects all body systems. It is characterized by a profound dysfunction/dysregulation of the neurological control system and results in faulty communication and interaction between the central nervous system and major body systems, notably the immune and endocrine systems, dysfunction of cellular energy metabolism and ion transport, and cardiac impairments. Its cardinal symptoms include a pathological low threshold of fatigability that is characterized by an inability to produce sufficient energy on demand. There are measurable,objective, adverse responses to normal exertion, resulting in exhaustion, extreme weakness, exacerbation of symptoms, and a prolonged recovery period. (source)

What are the symptoms of ME/CFS?

As noted above, there are many varying definitions of ME/CFS. Historically, one definition required a patient to satisfy the following:

  • Have severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis; and

  • Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.

Other symptoms include:

  • difficulty finding words
  • inability to comprehend/retain what is read
  • inability to calculate numbers and impairment of speech and/or reasoning
  • visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain, need for frequent prescription changes)
  • psychological problems (depression, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, personality changes, mood swings)
  • chills and night sweats
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness and balance problems
  • sensitivity to heat and/or cold
  • alcohol intolerance
  • irregular heartbeat
  • irritable bowel (abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas)
  • low-grade fever or low body temperature
  • numbness, tingling and/or burning sensations in the face or extremities
  • dryness of the mouth and eyes (sicca syndrome)
  • gynecological problems including PMS and endometriosis
  • chest pains
  • rashes
  • ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • allergies and sensitivities to noise/sound, odors, chemicals and medications
  • weight changes without changes in diet
  • light-headedness
  • mental fogginess
  • fainting
  • muscle twitching
  • orthostatic dysfunction
  • seizures
  • frequent sighing (source)

How is ME/CFS treated?

At this point, there is no cure for ME/CFS. Only the individual symptoms can be treated, not the overall condition.

ME/CFS sounds similar to dysautonomia. What is the difference?

Honestly, I don’t know. I was diagnosed with ME/CFS before POTS/dysautonomia. Whether I have both depends on which definition of ME/CFS you use. If ME/CFS involves symptoms that can’t be explained by any other condition, then I don’t have ME/CFS, because almost all of my symptoms are explained by POTS/dysautonomia. However as you can see from the above, the list of symptoms of the two conditions is almost identical. Both conditions affect the nervous system, thus influencing numerous bodily systems, including the circulatory, digestive and endocrine systems. There is quantitative diagnostic criteria for POTS/dysautonomia – an increase of 30 bpm or more when going from supine to standing. ME/CFS still lacks universal diagnostic criteria.  Many medical professionals believe there is a correlation between ME/CFS and POTS/dysautonomia. (source) The extent of the correlation is currently being researched.

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Musings of a Dysautonomiac

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Accident’s and Menieres

 

Adventures with Fatigue in the Aftermath of an Avocado Disaster

This is going to be a tough one…

The sentences just don’t want to flow. My brain feels likes like mush, and fatigue steals the words off my tongue.

But I expected it this time. In fact, I even tried to prepare for it. Yet here I sit, dizzy, and exhausted…after a full night’s sleep, at 11:00 am. It’s been a hard week to say the least, and this time, Meniere’s is not to blame. Well not directly.

It all started with a simple accident, one careless moment while preparing dinner several weeks ago.

I was in my kitchen on a Friday night, and had decided to cut up an avocado. I sliced it in half and began to cut out the pit, when the knife slipped and went straight into my left thumb. It was a small cut, but it went in deep, and I immediately knew something was very wrong.

As I ran my thumb under the faucet, I couldn’t feel anything. The top of my thumb was completely numb. I sealed the cut closed with liquid bandage and hoped for the best.

A week later, the cut was almost healed, but I still had no feeling in the top of my thumb. I decided to see a doctor. After considerable searching for a local orthopedic hand specialist who accepted my insurance, I was able to book an appointment for the next day.

I’ve had trouble finding good doctors in the past, but this time I got lucky. The doctor couldn’t have been nicer or more patient. He answered all of my questions, but after an X-ray and physical exam he broke the bad news.

I had damaged one of the nerves in my thumb, possibly severed it, but there was no simple way to tell. He explained that there are no tests sensitive enough to be able to see the damage on a nerve that small. The only way to know for sure, and fix it if need be, was exploratory surgery.

The situation had escalated so fast. My doctor explained that, depending on the severity of the damage, the feeling might come back on its own, but there was a chance it never would. And even if it did, scar tissue could develop around the nerve and cause problems later in life.

I also didn’t have a lot time to make a decision. The longer I waited, the less effective surgery would be. I decided later that night that if I didn’t get the surgery, and the feeling never came back in my thumb, I would always regret it. I scheduled the surgery the next day.

A Complete and Total Loss of Momentum:

This was my second surgery in the last year alone. About nine months ago I had to have a surgery to repair a hernia. So I had a rough idea of what to expect this time around.

After my hernia surgery, I had a really difficult time. I was hit by a mountain of brain fog, fatigue, and dizziness that had threatened to crush me. My Meniere’s symptoms had returned with a vengeance. The accompanying exhaustion, boredom, loneliness and resulting depression had lasted for weeks.

But when I started to feel better, I realized what had happened, and I learned something incredibly valuable:

One of the most powerful forces in treating Meniere’s disease is forward momentum.

Before I had my hernia surgery, I was working on exciting projects, exercising and meditating every day, and eating a healthy diet. I had so much momentum behind me.

But then I had the surgery. I was in pain, doped up from the meds, eating comfort foods, and laying around all day. When it came time to transition back into my life, I was stuck.

It was the first time since becoming diagnosed with Meniere’s disease that I had reached a point of complete inertia. I’ve had my share of setbacks over the years, but I had never been so completely out of commission. It took me a long time to find my way out of the hole. It took so much effort to get the ball rolling again.

So when I scheduled the surgery for my thumb, I wanted to try to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of my last surgery. I made a plan, and although I’m having a tough time, it’s nothing like it was before.

Time for Action:

Life always gets in the way. We not only have to face the adversity of Meniere’s disease itself, but we also have to face adversities with Meniere’s disease. Often, we have to deal with both at the same time. But every once in a while, we know what’s coming, and we get a chance to prepare.

My avocado disaster was ultimately an accident, but the damage was done. All I could do was accept that it happened, and get it taken care of. This time though, I knew the challenge was to prevent inertia.

After my hernia surgery, the brain fog was so thick I could barely function. It dragged on for so long. I was starting to lose hope. At some point I realized that it wasn’t going to improve on its own. I needed to do something, anything, to try to get better. It was time to take action.

I focused what little bit of energy I had on two key tasks: creativity exercises and rebuilding my routine.

For years I have used creativity exercises to combat brain fog, and it would always help. But I hadn’t done it for weeks and I knew I needed to up the stakes. I decided to push myself to try something completely new and I started writing creative short stories in response to writing prompts on Reddit. (Click here to read one of my short stories)

It was hard, really brain-achingly difficult. But I would finish a story and for a short while I would feel amazing. I had created something new and accomplished something I never knew I was even capable of. And the fog slowly started to lift. Every day I felt a tiny bit better.

I also started to try to rebuild my routine. I started eating my meals at the same time again, and I cut out the junk food. I couldn’t exercise, but I started going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, making sure to get 9 hours of sleep. It was an agonizingly slow process, but eventually I bounced back.

To keep up momentum after my thumb surgery, I knew what I had to do. I kept the junk food to a minimum. I went to bed early and got more sleep than I usually do. And I kept up my daily creative practice. As hard as it has been to write, I am feeling better now than when I first started writing this article.

Despite my best efforts, it has still been a hard week. But I am grateful to have learned my lesson the first time around. I was prepared and that preparation paid off. After only a week, I am already starting to feel better.

I hope I don’t need surgery again for a long time, but I know that at some point, somehow, something will go wrong. And when it does, I’ll be ready.

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