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Fibromyalgia associated with coronary heart disease and stroke risk: Study

Cardiovascular Effects of Fibromyalgia

“One out of two women are going to have, live with,and/or die from heart disease and stroke,…It is amazing women are still not getting that message, and one has to ask why.” Dr. Martha Hill

When you have fibromyalgia, your cardiovascular system can be significantly impacted. Everything from your breathing and blood pressure levels to blood flow and energy levels can get out of whack if your cardiovascular system isnt working properly. While in some cases, your cardiovascular problems could be caused by your fibromyalgia, in other instances, you may suffer from a disorder known as orthostatic intolerance. Regardless of the cause of your problems, there are steps that you can take to improve your cardiovascular health.

What is Orthostatic Intolerance?

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you are likely used to experiencing waves of dizziness and nausea upon standing up from a chair or getting out of bed. Recent research has revealed that people suffering from fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are prone to a disorder called orthostatic intolerance, which can significantly affect your cardiovascular system.

Orthostatic intolerance is a drastic drop in blood pressure upon standing up. This disorder is directly related to reduced blood flow, low blood pressure and lowered heart rate. Reduced or limited blood flow has long been known as a significant contributor to fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Orthostatic Intolerance and Reduced Blood Flow

Many of the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance are similar to fibromyalgia symptoms and can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Decreased concentration
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurring of vision
  • Headaches
  • Sleeplessness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Tiring easily with exercise

However, you do not have to have orthostatic intolerance to experience these problems. Fibromyalgia itself interferes with the regulation of the autonomic nervous system that controls heart rate. As a result, fibromyalgia patients suffer from low heart rate and hypotension (low blood pressure) and often have reduced blood flow in the thalamus and caudate nucleus areas of the brain.

Women are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia, but they many not experience the traditional heart disease symptoms seen in men. Unfortunately, the two conditions have intertwining symptoms that make a diagnosis even more complex. Considering the difficulty some patients have in getting their doctors to understand fibromyalgia, it is not surprising that other health problems may be overlooked in the process. Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are not always good indicators of future heart issues, so it is important to ask questions during your medical appointments. If you suspect you may be suffering from both fibromyalgia and coronary heart disease, then speak to your doctor about possible treatment plans.

“Because stroke-related comorbidities were less prevalent in the younger population, the effect of fibromyalgia per se was more pronounced in younger patients than in elders,” the authors confirmed. The findings indicate that prevention measures are required in those with fibromyalgia.”

Improving Your Cardiovascular System

It can be frustrating to receive the advice to exercise on a daily basis when you have considerable difficulty performing daily activities and getting work done around the house. It has been well documented, however, that daily exercise can relieve many of the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia while strengthen your cardiovascular system at the same time. If you find that many types of exercise are painful, put too much stress on your joints and leave you feeling exhausted, what other aerobic activity can you do?

Scary thought. There’s an increased risk of stroke in Fibromyalgia patients.

What is a good exercise to improve your cardiovascular system?

Doctors treating fibromyalgia patients have found aquatic exercise to be beneficial to their patients. Water therapy as a form of rehabilitation is well established for those who suffer from chronic arthritis, spinal injuries and sports injuries. It is a low-impact, relaxing activity that offers many of the same benefits of land-based exercise.

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3 Comments

  1. He’ll I’m Lydia Johns I have a bad. Form of FIBROMYALGIA and most sf the symptoms of possible heart disease ,
    I see my doctor on the 193the of April
    I would like to study more and definitely be a part of an study

  2. Hi Larry, as someone living with fibromyalgia I can totally relate to being so tired that I felt like I could sleep forever. And having unrelenting pain that made me curse waking up on some days. Without the love & support of my partner I honestly don’t know how I would’ve made it. With that being said, gently nudge your wife along throughout the day. Assist her as needed with tasks. Encourage her to take a walk with you. If only a short one. Some communities have water aerobic programs and other low impact activities. Some days just making it through the day is an accomplishment, so please be understanding. I pray that you both are well. Be blessed

  3. My wife has this decease,she is now 70 ,what can I do as husband to motivate her to increase exercise,or talk with Drs who specializes in this field.I know she had seen regular Dr.and I believe Lyrica is what she is taking.I want to find the right choice to discuss with her.and where to go to from here.thsnks.