Brain Activity Tied to Stress, Inflammation and Heart Problems

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
Increased stress is such an indelible feature for me with ME/CFS/FM - I think it's physiologically baked in (fight/flight) - that I think this must apply - at least for me - with this disease.

See the complete blog here -http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38584975

I wonder if increased white blood cells are found much in ME/CFS/FM?


The effect of constant stress on a deep-lying region of the brain explains the increased risk of heart attack, a study in The Lancet suggests.

In a study of 300 people, those with higher activity in the amygdala were more likely to develop cardiovascular disease - and sooner than others.

Stress could be as important a risk factor as smoking and high blood pressure, the US researchers said.
Heart experts said at-risk patients should be helped to manage stress.

Emotional stress has long been linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which affects the heart and blood vessels - but the way this happens has not been properly understood.
This study, led by a team from Harvard Medical School, points to heightened activity in the amygdala - an area of the brain that processes emotions such as fear and anger - as helping to explain the link.

The researchers suggest that the amygdala signals to the bone marrow to produce extra white blood cells, which in turn act on the arteries causing them to become inflamed. This can then cause heart attacks, angina and strokes.

As a result, when stressed, this part of the brain appears to be a good predictor of cardiovascular events.
But they also said more research was needed to confirm this chain of events.
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
Seems the order of causality is still in question. Lancet suggests chronic stress could directly impact the brain, leading to a chain of physiological responses --- including chronic inflammation and cellular activity.

While this study focuses on cardiovascular implications, I still have trouble understanding why there's so much resistance among ME/CFS/FM folks to more seriously considering the possible role of stress in some of our conditions (except as an incidental by-product of illness).
 

Empty

Well-Known Member
From this perspective, stress is good and necessary. It is stressful to be born, to teethe, to be an adolescent. We are living in the least stressful times in existence and calling it the most.

Stress has become the scapegoat to cover for infectious disease, vaccination
Problems, poor diet and offers the psych departments and drug companies careers for life now having created more mental illness labels than has ever existed.

The majority of people who are stressed don't come down with M.E. and so I reject the fashionable notion that stress causes this disease. I also know plenty of relaxation instructors/ cbt councillors who manage their lives what this paradigm judges as "well" and yet they still get ill.

This disease certainly causes stress. This stress can cause a worsening or disease progression.
 
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Paw

Well-Known Member
I reject the fashionable notion that stress causes this disease
I'm not too concerned about what is and isn't fashionable. I just want to investigate my own illness as clear-eyed as possible. The reason stress is a recurring agenda item for me is that it's seemingly relevant to my onset (and, as I've said, plays little role in my current life, yet my disease continues to chug merrily along). So studies like the above are relevant to my exploration.

What happens to "the majority of people" is not a basis for certainty. (The majority of people infected by certain viruses don't become chronically ill either, but that's not proof we should necessarily dismiss the possibility that viruses are etiological).

Anyway, you did sort of answer my question, I think. That is, you're wary of stress becoming a scapegoat. But I think such wariness can be held to and expressed without absolute statements about others' experiences.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
Increased stress is such an indelible feature for me with ME/CFS/FM - I think it's physiologically baked in (fight/flight) - that I think this must apply - at least for me - with this disease.

See the complete blog here -http://www.bbc.com/news/health-38584975

I wonder if increased white blood cells are found much in ME/CFS/FM?
Cort, please check out Myasenthia Gravis on WebMD. It's very similar to ME/CFS, though the facial muscles are affected first. There's many variations of MG. We can all relate to being too weak to raise our arms. This happens with MG as well.

Acetylcholine is THE major neurotransmitter for the body and for the brain. If our receptors or signalling are off, it explains all the ANS symptoms. Please take the "flight or fight" explanations of the psych world with a grain of salt. It's not what's happening here. If it were, we'd have high blood pressure. The majority (if not all?) of us have low blood pressure with tachycardia to lesser or greater extent. I think Nancy Klimas is now researching neurotransmitter signalling?

http://www.webmd.com/brain/understanding-myasthenia-gravis-basics#1

http://cirrie.buffalo.edu/encyclopedia/en/article/341/

There's a number of reasons to have a high white blood cell count:
http://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/high-white-blood-cell-count/basics/causes/sym-20050611
 

Gijs

Active Member
I think some patiënts don't understand Cort, i agree with him that the fight/flight system is impaired (physiologically!) due to the ANS dysfunction, so a problem with acetylcholine or receptors fits well in this theory.
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
The majority (if not all?) of us have low blood pressure with tachycardia to lesser or greater extent.
I'm among the minority with high BP -- mostly unresponsive to meds due to autonomic neuropathy (according to my cardiologist and neurologist). Amazing how many paths there are to nearly identical conditions and symptoms.

Even MG (an autoimmune condition for which I have tested negative) is said to be "a multifactorial disease: factors of genetic predisposition along with environmental factors, such as stress, emotional shock, pregnancy, triggers the onset of the condition" -- according to your link.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
I'm among the minority with high BP -- mostly unresponsive to meds due to autonomic neuropathy (according to my cardiologist and neurologist). Amazing how many paths there are to nearly identical conditions and symptoms.

Even MG (an autoimmune condition for which I have tested negative) is said to be "a multifactorial disease: factors of genetic predisposition along with environmental factors, such as stress, emotional shock, pregnancy, triggers the onset of the condition" -- according to your link.
Yeah, I think it's a matter of homeostasis. If we have low acetylcholine to start with, it's easier for us to be knocked off kilter by trauma, whether that's bacteria, virus, infection, medications, organophosphates, other chemicals, physical injury, etc. Kind of like our body is like riding a bike, balancing taking in nutrients to create energy and detoxifying. Our differences may be whatever knocked us off kilter?

May I ask, if you don't mind sharing, what did your doctor(s) think caused your autonomic neuropathy - an infection, meds or...? Do you take meds now? Do you know what your blood pressure was prior to becoming sick? Do you take meds now, do you drink coffee or a lot of caffeine drinks, and do you take your blood pressure at home? Do you eat a lot of processed food? A lot of questions, but I'm very curious to know to keep gathering info.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
I think some patiënts don't understand Cort, i agree with him that the fight/flight system is impaired (physiologically!) due to the ANS dysfunction, so a problem with acetylcholine or receptors fits well in this theory.
I should qualify what I meant - I prefer to say "sympathetic nervous system" rather than "flight or fight response" because the latter assumes that a psychological stressor causes the heart to beat too fast, slows digestion, sends blood flow to major muscle groups, etc. I've seen Cort in person at the conference in October, and I've seen his work here on Health Rising, and I'm confident in saying he has superior social skills. If Cort has a psychological problem that causes a flight or fight reaction I will eat my bathing suit.

I used to think I had an anxiety problem until I broke it down and realized what was happening. When I digested a big meal, my heart would beat too fast. My heart would beat too fast at night. I became anxious at social events because of having the experience of running out of energy while socializing but I didn't realize what was happening at the time. All these functions need acetylcholine. If our body is struggling to complete tasks without sufficient acetylcholine, isn't it like we're running a marathon on empty? Especially if we're trying to detox but can't. Add to that our body's production of histamines when it's stressed (cytokine storm), lactic acid, and it's like a vicious cycle. I think the anxiety comes on for us in response to the sometimes unpredictable or hard to predict physical problems.

http://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/digestive/digestive-system4.htm
http://www.life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/511-understanding-cholinergic-sleep
http://nootriment.com/acetylcholine/

Would love additional thoughts.
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
Our differences may be whatever knocked us off kilter?
That seems very likely to me.

After pretty extensive testing my neurologist declared my neuropathies ideopathic. (He said that's about 50% of the cases he sees.) He was the first one to diagnosis me with FM, because he believes small-fiber neuropathy is what FM "really" is (I don't necessarily agree -- but I do most identify as having FM symptoms, with CFS a subset). I also have significant peripheral neuropathies, but he seems to think it's the autonomic and small-fiber variants that are responsible for decades of assorted symptoms (high BP, IBS, chronic fatigue, RLS, Reynauds, migraines, gout, GERD, swallowing difficulties, sleep apnea, myofascial pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, etc (all coalescing into systemic debilitation about six years ago).

No processed foods, no gluten -- pretty good diet. Daily moderate caffeine agrees with me, while others stims do not. Untreated BP was quite high before I suddenly got fully sick (at the time I guessed that I had had a stroke, but a brain MRI showed no evidence). Now Losartan and Clonidine keep me in the moderately high range (155/95 is pretty routine; sometimes it's a bit better). I do take my pressure at home with a good machine -- several times a day when I'm adjusting meds. After trying lots of drug combos my cardiologist is relatively happy with my numbers. Unfortunately, more aggressive meds tend to lower my pulse too much (into the 40s) -- and, weirdly, my BP tends to rise when my heart rate is low. Exercise is crucial to my overall well-being, but I had to learn that the resultant pain would not damage me permanently -- and that it was preferable to the bed-bound deterioration that lack of exercise was leading to.

I also am significantly helped by duloxetine, which seems to do exactly one thing for me: control my body-wide burning sensations that come on like the flu every evening without it. Bedtime cannabis also is extremely helpful for controlling this as well as my symptoms of excess lactic acid. I also benefit from low-dose gabapentin, but only at night for sleep. Plus a lot of supplements, many of which are aimed at cholesterol control, since my muscles and joints can't tolerate statins. Recently I've been benefiting from a night dose of pregnenolone along with a morning dose of DHEA. They seem to raise the quality of my energy, if not the quantity.

(You did ask, didn't you?)
I became anxious at social events because of having the experience of running out of energy while socializing but I didn't realize what was happening at the time.
I relate to this as a lifelong problem. I only now realize that my attempts to lead a full life were basically keeping me running on fumes; i.e., I regularly tried to push myself with only "stress energy" after my limited cellular energy ran out each day. There was really not much in my psychological makeup that was anxious; but perhaps if I had been less ambitious I would not have had to deal with insufficient battery power for my activities to remain more relaxed and positive. When this condition was exacerbated by ten years of unavoidable high chronic circumstantial stress my body finally broke. (Although I don't totally rule out the involvement of other environmental factors from way back.)

Since I've had to manage my illness, I only work a couple of hours each morning (when my energy is best) -- and I've never enjoyed the process more (both the work itself and the social aspects). I can honestly say I'm mostly stress free (psychologically) because everyone in my life knows my limitations and I rarely have to push myself anymore. So I'm very fortunate in this regard. Still, the disease persists and I have many flu-like days/periods that I wait out mostly in a fully reclined state.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
That seems very likely to me.

After pretty extensive testing my neurologist declared my neuropathies ideopathic. (He said that's about 50% of the cases he sees.) He was the first one to diagnosis me with FM, because he believes small-fiber neuropathy is what FM "really" is (I don't necessarily agree -- but I do most identify as having FM symptoms, with CFS a subset). I also have significant peripheral neuropathies, but he seems to think it's the autonomic and small-fiber variants that are responsible for decades of assorted symptoms (high BP, IBS, chronic fatigue, RLS, Reynauds, migraines, gout, GERD, swallowing difficulties, sleep apnea, myofascial pain, plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, etc (all coalescing into systemic debilitation about six years ago).

No processed foods, no gluten -- pretty good diet. Daily moderate caffeine agrees with me, while others stims do not. Untreated BP was quite high before I suddenly got fully sick (at the time I guessed that I had had a stroke, but a brain MRI showed no evidence). Now Losartan and Clonidine keep me in the moderately high range (155/95 is pretty routine; sometimes it's a bit better). I do take my pressure at home with a good machine -- several times a day when I'm adjusting meds. After trying lots of drug combos my cardiologist is relatively happy with my numbers. Unfortunately, more aggressive meds tend to lower my pulse too much (into the 40s) -- and, weirdly, my BP tends to rise when my heart rate is low. Exercise is crucial to my overall well-being, but I had to learn that the resultant pain would not damage me permanently -- and that it was preferable to the bed-bound deterioration that lack of exercise was leading to.

I also am significantly helped by duloxetine, which seems to do exactly one thing for me: control my body-wide burning sensations that come on like the flu every evening without it. Bedtime cannabis also is extremely helpful for controlling this as well as my symptoms of excess lactic acid. I also benefit from low-dose gabapentin, but only at night for sleep. Plus a lot of supplements, many of which are aimed at cholesterol control, since my muscles and joints can't tolerate statins. Recently I've been benefiting from a night dose of pregnenolone along with a morning dose of DHEA. They seem to raise the quality of my energy, if not the quantity.

(You did ask, didn't you?)

I relate to this as a lifelong problem. I only now realize that my attempts to lead a full life were basically keeping me running on fumes; i.e., I regularly tried to push myself with only "stress energy" after my limited cellular energy ran out each day. There was really not much in my psychological makeup that was anxious; but perhaps if I had been less ambitious I would not have had to deal with insufficient battery power for my activities to remain more relaxed and positive. When this condition was exacerbated by ten years of unavoidable high chronic circumstantial stress my body finally broke. (Although I don't totally rule out the involvement of other environmental factors from way back.)

Since I've had to manage my illness, I only work a couple of hours each morning (when my energy is best) -- and I've never enjoyed the process more (both the work itself and the social aspects). I can honestly say I'm mostly stress free (psychologically) because everyone in my life knows my limitations and I rarely have to push myself anymore. So I'm very fortunate in this regard. Still, the disease persists and I have many flu-like days/periods that I wait out mostly in a fully reclined state.
What a series of ordeals - glad you've figured ways to cope.

I have some more questions!

First though, I want to mention that I figured out that there's no need to fight gravity and pound feet to get needed exercise - if you have access to a pool in your area, deep water walking/jogging is fantastic.

Do you have flat feet? Are your feet solid or kind of pliable? Is your skin somewhat soft and velvety? Do people comment you look younger than your age?

Are magnesium glycinate and vitamin D part of your supplement arsenal? How much d do you take?

What are your chemical exposures? Do you use low toxic cleaners/laundry soap?
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
I want to mention that I figured out that there's no need to fight gravity and pound feet to get needed exercise - if you have access to a pool in your area, deep water walking/jogging is fantastic.
Yes, this would be ideal. I may get there eventually, but, so far, I've been trading off the ideal for the sure-thing: walking. Since it's convenient and I enjoy it, it's easy for me to stick to it. When I tried swimming it was such a hassle I couldn't keep up with it.

I do have very flat pliable feet and soft bruisable skin. Maybe I look a little younger than my age, and I've always been flexible. (My PCP told me recently I could rule out ehlers-danlos because it would have shown up on one of my labs.) I take 4-5 grams of magnesium citrate over the course of each day (plus a nightly epsom bath and 4000 iu of Vit D3. I was careless with chemicals when young (both recreationally and in work -- harsh cleaners, fumes, etc), but now I have strong sensitivities, so I'm pretty careful. I use normal laundry soap but non-toxic cleaners.

Are you working up a new diagnosis for me? Or do you have similar symptoms?
 

Paw

Well-Known Member
This opinion piece by Jamison Hill helps me better understand the strong reactions I get from some in our community when I discuss my own past stress. It's a hard thing to talk about because it's so easy to conflate brain involvement with "psychosomatic" conclusions. (My own brother likes to tell me, only half-teasingly, "it's all in your head," whenever we discuss neurological factors.) So, in a political sense, it's necessary to fight back against facile perceptions that we are merely indulging in some sort of "yuppie flu."

Also, I know there are many among us who developed disease with absolutely zero psychological contribution.

On the other hand, Hill acknowledges (through his links) what, to me, seems obvious: factors such as stress lead to relevant physiological changes involving cortisol production, inflammation, etc. If the stress is severe and chronic, it makes sense to me that it could contribute to disease among some people with certain genetic predispositions, environmental exposures, etc. When I was a teenager, my parents would tell me that if I allowed myself to get run down and unrested I would be more susceptible to catching a cold or not being able to fend off the flu. I found this to be very true.

The trickiest part in discussing all this seems to be when the word "causal" comes up. That's why I prefer the word "trigger." Causal connotes a single cause, whereas, in my experience, it seems I was predisposed to illness that, I'm guessing, would have remained at a low level had not my chronic stress triggered the onset of full disease. But of course I'll never know for sure.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
Yes, this would be ideal. I may get there eventually, but, so far, I've been trading off the ideal for the sure-thing: walking. Since it's convenient and I enjoy it, it's easy for me to stick to it. When I tried swimming it was such a hassle I couldn't keep up with it.

I do have very flat pliable feet and soft bruisable skin. Maybe I look a little younger than my age, and I've always been flexible. (My PCP told me recently I could rule out ehlers-danlos because it would have shown up on one of my labs.) I take 4-5 grams of magnesium citrate over the course of each day (plus a nightly epsom bath and 4000 iu of Vit D3. I was careless with chemicals when young (both recreationally and in work -- harsh cleaners, fumes, etc), but now I have strong sensitivities, so I'm pretty careful. I use normal laundry soap but non-toxic cleaners.

Are you working up a new diagnosis for me? Or do you have similar symptoms?
There's that saying that many heads solves a problem. I can't diagnose but I can help you search paths. I have similar symptoms and different. I've also figured that we've all come together because there's a commonality. So far this low acetylcholine theory has borne out in a number of ways. It's expressed as different health problems though, for a number of differences in genes, exposures, etc. I hate for people to suffer especially when an answer or partial answer might be easy to find.

-From the age of 12 we start to lose vitamin K2. K2 and magnesium help send calcium to the bones where it should be rather than to tissues. I take a varying amount of D3 (AOR liquid brand, easily absorbed) with 200mcg of K2 (AOR capsules) and a varying amount of magnesium glycinate (Douglas laboratories). I started out with 10,000 IU D3, 200mcg K2 and 400-700 mg magnesium glycinate a day. I did that for about 3-4 months then had D3 levels and calcium levels checked. Everything was in range, and then I cut down on the supplements. Glycinate is the most bioavailable form I understand. Was it confirmed that it's uric acid crystals in your joints? Cause pseudogout can be caused by not enough magnesium or too much iron. You can check that out at the Mayo Clinic website.

-My skin burned when I used normal laundry detergent. I now use Ecover brand laundry liquid with baking soda and vinegar for stains and whites, and it's made a huge difference. It also actually cleans! I use their floor soap too and found that it wasn't the activity of mopping the floor that made my muscles burn the next day, it had been the Pinesol I was previously using.

-What kind of lab did you have done to check for EDS? Acetylcholine problems in the womb can lead to not enough collagen III (from what I understand, I could have this somewhat wrong) which can be severe or not as severe and affect different body systems. Hence there's different types of EDS and people have greater and lesser suffering. According to Medscape vascular EDS requires a skin biopsy for diagnosis. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/943567-workup If you do have EDS, apparently it is rare to also have hypertension, but possible. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3821183 http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/62/1/8 I'm assuming your cardiologist has checked for aneurysms? Don't panic if you read these studies! Maybe take them to your cardiologist?

There is a cardiologist that also has seen patients with ME/CFS. I wonder if he'd be helpful. His name is Steven Sinatra. He sells his own amino acid supplements which he's researched. I'm not advocating to take those, just warning you that what he sells is available in health food stores from other good quality brands. (I hate when med professionals claim you have to buy their stuff as if it's the only brand available.) He's become a mini celebrity-health-guru, I'm not sure if he's interested in individual cases anymore. Maybe worth a try? http://www.drsinatra.com/connect-with-dr-sinatra/ Other than that, Dr. Peter Rowe at John Hopkins counts EDS amongst his specialties. 23andme.org can give you the raw data for your genes for about $200. Here are the vascular EDS genes: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1494/
 
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Paw

Well-Known Member
Thanks for all the great ideas and info, @AquaFit!

My cardiologist keeps suggesting I explore POTS, but I certainly don't fit the typical POTS profile.

I do think it's about time I try 23AndMe. Could be interesting. I don't remember which blood test caused my PCP to rule out EDS, but it was not specific to EDS (he just said it would not be normal if I had EDS). I know, like POTS, EDS has multiple manifestations. And with me -- presumably because of my autonomic neuropathy -- I rarely have all symptoms matching a particular condition. I see my new PCP for the first time tomorrow. I'll ask her about EDS biopsies if she seems interested.

I wonder if your skin burning is different from mine. I usually describe it as like a sunburn 1/2-inch below the surface of the skin. It's not unlike a strong niacin flush that won't go away. Sounds like yours is more on the surface -- which might point more toward environmental factors? I am very susceptible to hives and other skin issues, but my signature "burning" is more related to the small-fiber neuropathy, I'll bet. That's why the duloxetine has proven so effective at lowering its intensity -- as it's supposed to flood the system with serotonin.

I do take daily ALCAR and Alpha GPC, but only small doses, mostly because I'm "supposed" to. Regular doses aggravate my burning and flu-like symptoms. (I also get similar paradoxical reactions to stims.) I don't doubt the acetylcholine connection, but maybe I'm not processing it correctly, so just adding more to the system is not so helpful. The pregnenolone/DHEA path, on the other hand, has been intriguing so far.

Uric acid was moderately high a week after gout attack, so PCP deemed it gout. My rheumatologist, on the other hand, hasn't been able to capture it with fluid removals -- but I always get to her late in an attack. So I'm still not 100% sure.

Thanks again. I've been dragging lately, but look forward to perusing your links.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
You're welcome! Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

I have to thank you too - you prompted me to look into DHEA/pregnenolone. It's a way of boosting acetylcholine with hormones. Very interesting! I just came across this product today; I think it's topical DHEA, haven't had time to look into it yet, thought I'd send you a link to it with a study which may or may not be related. The study only tracked benefits to skin, hair and nails. But the effects might also help the Autonomic Nervous System which controls heart rate - as long as the dose is appropriate.
http://www.biosilusa.com/does-choline-provide-any-other-health-benefits/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15675949

One more resource for you: The Ehlers Danlos Society has a forum here: https://www.inspire.com/groups/ehlers-danlos-syndromes/discussion/vascular-ehlers-danlos-syndrome-1/ The Inspire organization does sell info gleaned from posts to pharmaceutical companies, fyi.

"Burning" sensations - yeah, I've had reactions where my skin feels like it's on fire which is definitely surface and an immediate response to touching chemical surfaces/textiles which doctors refer to as contact dermatitis. I've also felt a pain in my joints and muscles which is deeper and at one time thought was arthritis but found it's I think histamines built up in muscles, especially in the upper back and neck. When I have the flu all my skeletal muscles hurt. Worsening as I get older. Osteopathy or massage can work out the histamines or taking the antihistamine Reactine - unless it's very bad; then I have to lie in bed and suffer till my body detoxifies. Sometimes it comes in the form of a migraine.
 
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Paw

Well-Known Member
I don't want to jinx myself, since it's only been a few weeks that I've been experimenting with DHEA/pregnenolone, but it's the first time in a long time I've been getting relatively solid sleep without the help of Lunesta or Ambien. (I have to take vacations from them anyway, or they stop working entirely.) After trial and error I've settled on 50mg micronized pregnenolone at bedtime (NOT sublingual), and 10-15mg DHEA in the morning.
I've also felt a pain in my joints and muscles which is deeper and at one time thought was arthritis but found it's I think histamines built up in muscles, especially in the upper back and neck.
My muscle pain got so severe in my legs and hips I thought I had sustained a real injury. Physical therapists found I responded best to traction and massage (and poorly to muscle-building exercises) -- which got me pursuing connective tissue paths. About a year ago I bought an inversion table, which has been a godsend. Now I have access to predictable, consistent relief, even if temporary. I use it at least once or twice a day. It's kind of scary at first (I thought something in me would surely snap), but after I learned to relax into the pain it started feeling pretty good. Perhaps it's breaking up pools of lactic acid. Even severe cramps can be stretched out instead of resisted.
 

AquaFit

Active Member
My muscle pain got so severe in my legs and hips I thought I had sustained a real injury. Physical therapists found I responded best to traction and massage (and poorly to muscle-building exercises) -- which got me pursuing connective tissue paths. About a year ago I bought an inversion table, which has been a godsend. Now I have access to predictable, consistent relief, even if temporary. I use it at least once or twice a day. It's kind of scary at first (I thought something in me would surely snap), but after I learned to relax into the pain it started feeling pretty good. Perhaps it's breaking up pools of lactic acid. Even severe cramps can be stretched out instead of resisted.
We're doing the same thing but with different methods - spinal decompression. (Dangling in the water up to my neck for me, inversion table for you.) If ME/CFS is a matter of being thrown off homeostasis worse than others simply because we have less reserves in our body to detoxify or to deal with physical injury, etc. etc. then applying that to the wear and tear of sitting and standing for years fighting gravity is one of those things. Nutrients flow through the discs of the spine - if we have trouble getting nutrients through the rest of our body, spine is even harder to maintain in homeostasis as we get older. Especially if connective tissue issues - it's like a weaker frame, less able to hold up to gravity without complaints. I've been on the EDS forums and read about the much more serious problems that those who have worse connective tissue problems have - oy vey! They're needing surgery, braces to hold up parts of their body, my heart goes out to them.

http://www.simplebackpain.com/benefits-of-spinal-decompression.html

These images of EDS'ers in worse shape help me feel not so sorry for myself and spurs me to help find answers for all...
https://www.google.ca/search?q=ehlers+danlos+braces&rlz=1C1CHBD_enCA724CA724&espv=2&biw=1600&bih=794&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjV5Iq-vMfRAhVG5oMKHZAPCG4Q_AUIBigB&dpr=1

Just read this study Cort provided, thought of you immediately - http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2016/10/inflammation-test-that-may-predict-heart-disease.html
 
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