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8 Things Only People Fighting With Lyme Disease Understand

8 Things Only People Fighting With Lyme Disease Understand

Lyme disease is the most common vector-born illness in the United States — and those who contract it can have a huge struggle to get back to health. Here are some important things to remember if someone you love is fighting this disease.

1. They Can Be In A Lot Of Pain

Pain in the muscles and joints — which is sometimes pretty severe — is a very common symptom of Lyme disease, and keeping that pain under control can be a real challenge.

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This chronic pain can make it hard to go to work, clean the house, or do other basic activities of everyday life. And pain relievers, whether over-the-counter or by prescription, all have side effects ranging from stomach irritation to liver impairment to becoming dependent.

2. They Can Also Suffer From Severe Fatigue

Some patients with this condition report that during the middle of a flare-up, they can often be so tired that it is all they can do to get out of bed in the morning. Many have to rest throughout the day and this can make it difficult for work, school, and other important aspects of living.

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3. They May Suffer From Anxiety and Depression

It is very common for those with Lyme disease to suffer from problems with anxiety and depression. This is not just because of the pain and fatigue this disease brings. It is also because the kind of bacteria that causes Lyme disease, known as a spirochete, can settle in the brain and cause these mental problems.

4. They Have Ups And Downs

One of the difficult aspects of Lyme disease is that it can flare up then settle into a period of remission. In other words, people will get better and actually feel good for months or weeks on end and think they have finally gotten over the disease, only to be hit with another bout of pain and fatigue. For many people, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of this disease.

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5. They Can Feel Isolated Or Lonely

Because of the nature of this disease, people who have it can have a hard time explaining their symptoms to others. And, because they do not always look sick, they find that sometimes other people think they are faking it or are not as ill as they really are. This can lead those with Lyme disease to feel lonely or to withdraw from others. This feeling of isolation is another difficult thing to cope with — and it can make the depression and other emotional issues worse.

6. They Are Often Misdiagnosed

Lyme disease can carry with it over 100 different signs and symptoms, some of which can easily be mistaken for other illnesses or conditions — and many doctors simply do not know enough about this disease to diagnose it easily. This is why many people often get a wrong diagnosis, which can delay the treatment that they need so badly. This can also cause their health to deteriorate, since they are not being treated for the disease itself.

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7. They Must Go Through A Long Treatment Process

Even once Lyme disease is diagnosed, that is only the beginning. The treatment process can take months and months of antibiotic therapy to complete, and that is not the only aspect of the treatment.

Those fighting this condition must also eat healthy, try to stay active, rest, and take supplements in order to work their way back to being healthy. And if this disease does go untreated, people who have it can feel its affects for a lifetime.

8. They Run The Risk Of Fatal Complications

Although this fortunately is rare, Lyme disease can sometimes be fatal if the spirochete invades the heart and causes a heart block. It is not a common complication, but one which can cause a great deal of anxiety nonetheless.

In short, although Lyme disease is only rarely fatal, it can cause significant emotional and physical problems and have a significant (and negative) impact on the lives of those who have it. Good emotional support from family and friends is important to get through this difficult condition.

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on October 15, 2018

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

Why Am I So Tired? 10 Reasons You’re Extremely Tired And How to Fix It

“Why am I so tired?” is a question that people ask themselves pretty frequently. Everyone gets tired at one point or another, particularly after something like an illness, a long night up with a sick child, or a busy week at work. When tiredness is persistent, however — when you feel tired as soon as you wake up in morning or when sleep doesn’t seem to help, no matter how much rest you get— it may often indicate a deeper, underlying problem.

While there are a lot of possible reasons for tiredness, here’re some of the most common causes of fatigue:

1. Dehydration

If you want to boost your energy levels, first check whether you are dehydrated. The human brain is 85% water, and needs to maintain this level in order to perform its essential functions.

If you fail to drink enough water, the brain extracts fluids from your blood to compensate for the deficit. As a result, the oxygen levels in your blood drop, reducing the amount of energising oxygen available to your organs and tissues. Fatigue and sleepiness set in rapidly, leaving you more vulnerable to the 2 pm post-lunch crash that many of us experience.

You cannot cure this crash with caffeine – the only long-term, effective solution is to drink hydrating fluids throughout the day.

2. Lack Of Exercise

A workout will surely leave you feeling even more tired, right? Wrong! As counterintuitive as it may sound, physical activities have an energizing effect. Moving your body releases endorphins, increases your heart rate, and boosts your concentration.

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Try to fit in at least 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise every day. It’s easiest if you can make this part of our everyday routine, either as soon as you wake up or right after work.

3. A Poor Diet

The food you eat has a direct impact on sleep quality and the amount of rest you get every night. For maximum energy, stick to protein, slow-release carbohydrates, and a moderate amount of healthy (unsaturated) fats. The majority of your food should be plant-based, high in fiber, and low in sugar. These choices will prevent blood sugar fluctuations, which can leave you feeling exhausted.

An easy way to make sure you stick to a good diet is through meal preparation. It’s easy to just get take-out when you’re tired after work, but if you have a meal ready for you in the fridge, you’ll be less tempted by pizza or cheese.

Find out more about healthy meal prep here: 10 Meal Planning Apps You Need To Have To Get Healthier Easily

4. Skipping Breakfast

Physician Dr. Nerina Ramlakhan advises that eating breakfast is key to maintaining a good level of energy throughout the day. When you eat breakfast, you are sending calming signals to the areas of the brain responsible for avoiding danger, along with those that instruct the body to conserve as much energy as possible.

Ingesting food signals to your brain that there is enough food available to ensure our survival. This encourages it to stay relaxed, which in turn, promotes restful sleep.

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Some great ideas for a healthy, filling, and make-ahead breakfasts include overnight oats, smoothies, and freezer-friendly breakfast burritos.

Or if meal-prepping isn’t your think, stock up on easy but healthy breakfast foods like multigrain cereal, yogurt, and fruit: 20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

5. Poor Quality Of Sleep

We all know that it’s important to wind down a couple of hours before bed. But did you know that it’s what you do throughout the day that promotes good-quality sleep? It’s not just about the number of hours you sleep, but how restful and deep that sleep is.

TO feel rested, try to regulate your everyday routine to make your sleep deeper and better. Get up at a regular time in the morning to ensure that you get regular sunlight.

Eat nutritious foods in moderate amounts, and make sure you stay hydrated. Go to bed at the same time. And before bedtime, avoid screens that can give off harmful blue light and also keep you stimulated when you need to prepare for a restful night.

Read more about how to develop a routine that will get you better sleep: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

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6. Sleep Apnea (A Person’s Airways Get Blocked off While They Are Asleep)

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder where a person’s airways get blocked off while they are asleep, causing their oxygen levels to drop while they are asleep. This often causes people to stop breathing at night and then to jerk themselves awake (this can happen over 30 times an hour).

Because of this, people with sleep apnea can feel short of breath and have low energy levels. Mouthpieces and other devices to aid in breathing as well as the use of a special breathing machine to keep oxygen levels in a safe zone.

If you feel tired all the time and think you might have sleep apnea, consulting with a doctor is important. Do a sleep study, as this can often reveal if there is an underlying problem causing your tiredness — and once a diagnosis is made, treatment to help you get your energy back begins.

7. Depression

Depression is the most common mental health disorder in the United States (and in many other countries of the world as well). It is marked by persistent feelings of sadness or unhappiness but has physical symptoms, too. Apart from fatigue, people may also experience changes in sleeping and eating habits and difficulty concentrating.

Treatment can often center on anti-depressants, counselling and lifestyle changes like stress management to help manage this condition. You can take a look at these 15 Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness.

Many people also benefit from activities like yoga and meditation, which help regulate both the body and mind.

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8. Hypothyroidism

If a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not produce adequate levels of these important hormones— and the result can be a persistent and unrelenting fatigue, even if someone is getting enough sleep. Other common symptoms of this disorder include mood swings, weight gain and feeling cold all the time.

Fortunately, simple blood work can reveal if there is a problem and it can be treated with artificial thyroid hormone pills like Synthroid. Check here for signs of having a thyroid problem. If you suspect that you might have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor.

9. Anemia

People with anemia are not able to make enough red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the their bodies. This is often due to a lack of nutrients like iron or B-12 and can be caused by problems such as heavy periods, bleeding in the digestive tract or pregnancy (due to the increased demands of the growing baby).

However, in most cases, this can be resolved with treatments like changes in diet, iron supplements or B-12 shots.

While here are some drinks you can try to relieve symptoms of Anemia, it’s best to do a blood test and consult your doctor in case of any hidden medical conditions.

10. Cancer

While you shouldn’t be freaking out about cancer just because you are tired, it is a fact that fatigue is one of the symptoms of cancer. Other common symptoms can include unexplained weight loss and the presence of palpable lumps or growths. This disease is marked by the abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells that can do damage to surround tissues and possibly spread to other parts of the body.

Diagnosis is usually by biopsy and treatment often focusses on radiation, chemotherapy or surgery— and generally when a diagnosis is made early, the outcomes for the patient are better.

Featured photo credit: Lily Banse via unsplash.com

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