Infectolab - sleep

What Role Does Sleep Play In Fighting Lyme Disease?

Sleep is an important part of keeping our bodies healthy. We often think of sleep as a total mind and body shutdown, but in reality, that’s not the case. Although our conscious mind switches off, sleep is actually a very active state for us. A lot of processing, strengthening, and restoration occurs while we sleep, although exactly how and why this process works the way it does is still a bit of a mystery to scientists. Physically, our bodies use sleep to repair damaged muscle and tissue and support our immune system. Mentally, all the information we’ve picked up during the course of the day is sorted through and transferred to our long-term memory banks. Sleep is vitally important for patients fighting chronic diseases. One of the most prevalent chronic diseases out there is Lyme disease; so what role does sleep play in fighting Lyme?

When we talk about Lyme disease in its chronic form, we’re talking about the second stage of the disease’s lifespan. The first stage, acute Lyme, only lasts for a few weeks, and presents with the same symptoms as the common flu. Sleep doesn’t have much of a role to play during this stage, as the symptoms can in fact be quite mild. If Lyme disease is not caught or diagnosed correctly while in the acute manifestation, it can evolve, or devolve as the case may be, into the chronic form. This stage of the disease can come on many months after the initial tick bite, and will often last a lifetime if not treated. Unfortunately, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not consider chronic Lyme a fully-fledged legitimate disorder, so many cases go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed as some other condition.

Infectolab - rest
Rest is an important part in the fight against any chronic disease.

The symptoms of chronic Lyme are caused by an interplay between infection and inflammation. The former derives from the primary Borrelia burgdorferi infection, while the latter is a result of an immune response overreacting to the seemingly omnipresent bacteria. Due to the immune system being under continued stress, constant fatigue is a primary symptom of chronic Lyme. This fatigue isn’t like a regular feeling of tiredness that everyone experiences after a busy day. It’s more like a weight, constantly pushing down on the patient, meaning everything they do requires huge effort, even simple movements that healthy people would take for granted. Worse still, sleep never fully alleviates it; many patients wake up from sleep with the same sense of fatigue.

Yet sleep is an important part of fighting back against Lyme disease. Without sufficient sleep, your body produces fewer cytokines. Cytokines are important proteins that regulate the body’s immune response and inflammation. They send cells to damaged or under-attack areas, and are a crucial link in the chain when it comes to recovering from infections or wounds. When we become ill, sometimes before we even consciously realize it, our body encourages us to get more sleep. When the body’s immune system is on high alert, it can boost serotonin levels, which encourages sleep and rest.

This all sounds good in theory, and the natural inclination toward an increase in sleep should help a patient fight back against a chronic Lyme infection. However, many Lyme disease patients report difficulty sleeping. This seemingly simple symptom can often be one of the most debilitating factors in the whole spectrum of issues a chronic Lyme patient may encounter. To understand exactly why that is, we must qualify chronic Lyme not primarily as an infection, but as an inflammation-based disorder. The infection symptoms can certainly be debilitating, especially if the bacteria make their way to the brain or spinal fluid (which results in neuroborreliosis). But the most immediate symptoms patients complain of originate through inflammation.

Infectolab - sleeping
It’s vitally important for Lyme disease patients to restore proper sleep.

Sleep is necessary to tackle these inflammation-based issues, and yet, the very symptoms themselves prevent good-quality sleep. Many patients complain of joint or muscle aches, and often can’t find comfort at night due to the continued sense of pain. Others experience pins and needles in the extremities, which cause them to lie awake at night. Many Lyme patients suffer from depressive symptoms, too, which can lead to bouts of full-on insomnia. All this lost sleep adds up, weakening the body further and further. Eventually, patients find themselves operating on just a few hours of fitful sleep a night, which leaves their bodies no chance at fighting the infection and inflammation organically.

One of the first treatment objectives for a chronic Lyme patient is restoring proper sleep. This can be addressed in a number of ways; the first order of business is to determine what exactly is stopping the patient from sleeping. Our bodies instinctively know that healthy sleep is one of the first lines of defense against any kind of infection or attack. Giving that first line of natural defense back to patients is an important first step in battling chronic Lyme disease.

Infectolab - healthy food

Does Healthy Eating Really Help Battle Chronic Disease?

Maintaining a healthy weight is important to our overall general health. Worldwide incidences of obesity and overweightness are continuing to climb every year in the Western world, and especially in America. This is having an overall detrimental effect on our wellbeing, resulting in higher numbers of heart disease, diabetes, and even mental disorders such as depression. What you choose to put into your body can have a startling effect on your state of mind, as well as your physical health. Healthy eating is also recommended when your body is fighting a chronic disease; these long-term conditions put the body under immense strain, and are often cumulative in effect. There are many different forms of chronic disease out there – can healthy eating really help battle them all?

It’s important to first state that healthy eating alone won’t cure a chronic disease. But since chronic illnesses are often deeply entrenched within the body and require a lot of effort to combat, providing your body with the best source of energy available is critical. You don’t want to weigh down your immune system or metabolic response with unhealthy or detrimental foods, as this will often add fuel to the fire for many chronic conditions. It’s important to keep in mind that your body needs to heal. Although patients live with chronic diseases in their day-to-day life and it can start to feel like the norm, your body is actively fighting and needs to heal itself. Eating healthily can give it the best chance to do so.

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Making healthy food choices can help in the fight against chronic disease.

There’s a whole pantheon of chronic diseases out there, of course, but one of the most interesting ones to look at is Lyme disease. Lyme disease in its chronic form presents as a number of varied symptoms, which may or may not affect all the patients suffering from it. Because Lyme disease is not fully legitimized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many doctors aren’t well versed in how to treat it. This can lead to high instances of misdiagnosis, the true extent of which remain unknown. Even when Lyme disease is detected correctly, many doctors move straight to prescribing antibiotics, without taking into account exactly how the disease operates.

Lyme is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, which is transferred via tick bites. In the initial stages of the disease, Lyme can be treated solely by antibiotics. However, when it develops to the chronic form, which can happen many weeks or months after the initial infection, then antibiotics alone are not enough. Why is this, exactly? Well, Borrelia burgdorferi is an extremely insidious bacterium. If it stays in the system long enough, it can cause the immune response to flare up and basically attack itself. Many of the symptoms of chronic Lyme, including muscle and joint pain and a constant sense of fatigue, are caused by an inflammation response. The immune system cannot rid itself of the infection, and so overcompensates, resulting in a number of debilitating, prominent symptoms for the patient.

Once this process has started, only trace amounts of Borrelia need remain in the system for this haywire immune response to keep firing. This is why antibiotics alone aren’t enough to treat chronic Lyme. The inflammation symptoms must be tackled separately, and one of the best ways of doing that is through a healthy diet. Certain foods feed the inflammation response and harshen the symptoms. These primarily include gluten, dairy, and sugars. Interestingly, eating enough of any of these in one go will make anyone feel bloated and sick, which is a good indication of how they affect our bodies, and how they can consistently contribute to chronic disorders.

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Following a healthy eating plan with a range of nutritious foods is of primary importance to those suffering from chronic illness.

Gut dysfunction is almost always a component of chronic disorders, and it’s no different with chronic Lyme. Your gut is the first line of defense for anything you put into your body, and it’s the gut microbes that transform food to nutrients and energy. Your gut is also a primary component of the immune system; if one is in a bad way, it’s bound to follow that the other is too. So keeping your gut healthy should be of primary importance to anyone suffering from a chronic disease (as it should to anyone at all).

Lots of water, vitamins and minerals, fiber, vegetables, and healthy fats are all things to consider adding to your diet. Alcohol, sugar, gluten, and milk should be cut down to as little as possible, or cut out altogether in some cases. It’s important to reconfigure your diet with your doctor, and ideally a nutritionist, as they can help you introduce changes gradually. Healthy eating alone doesn’t cure chronic diseases; but it can certainly give your body the best chance at fighting back against one. In instances of chronic Lyme in particular, eating healthily is an important part of the treatment process. Although it’s a long road, and nothing happens overnight, it can be a vital step to feeling good again.

Infectolab - exercise

Is It Safe To Exercise With Chronic Lyme Disease?

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, you might be wondering if it’s still safe for you to take part in exercise. The answer is yes – as long as you tailor your fitness regime to fit your symptoms. Being active can actually be a huge help in supporting your health by boosting your immune system and building up your strength and endurance. Here’s what you need to know about exercising with chronic Lyme disease.

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Infectolab - healthy foods

How Anti-Inflammatory Foods Can Boost The Efficacy Of Lyme Disease Treatment

In spite of the fact that Lyme disease cases are growing in number, there is still much confusion about how best to diagnose and treat this complex condition. Caused by the bacterium borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is transmitted by blacklegged ticks (also known as deer ticks) infected with this bacterium. People who visit a doctor after noticing early symptoms of Lyme disease such as fever, body aches, or a rash resembling a target may receive blood tests to check for antibodies against borrelia burgdorferi. If the tests are positive, patients are generally treated with antibiotics for 10 to 21 days, and many make a full recovery.

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Infectolab - healthy diet

6 Reasons Good Nutrition Is A Superpower In The Fight Against Lyme Disease

There are so many reasons why good nutrition is essential to your health. Boasting everything from disease-fighting properties to the ability to help your skin glow, a balanced, clean diet can result in you having an overall healthier system. Good nutrition becomes even more vital if you’re battling a chronic illness like Lyme disease. In this case, your body needs even more assistance in getting all the vitamins and nutrients you require to keep up your strength and even reduce some of your symptoms.

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