How Badly Fibromyalgia can Affect Your Cardiovascular System

By: Wyatt Redd

When you are diagnosed with the condition of fibromyalgia, you should be aware that your cardiovascular system will be significantly impacted. If your cardiovascular system isn’t properly working, you will be likely to have difficulty breathing, and your blood pressure will be all out of whack.

Additionally, you’ll have lowered energy levels. However, while it is true that some of your cardiovascular issues could be a result of your fibromyalgia, it is also possible you could be suffering from a condition known as orthostatic intolerance. No matter what the cause of your cardiovascular issues are, there are some steps that you can take in order to improve your cardiovascular health.

Fibromyalgia can Affect Your Cardiovascular System

Orthostatic Intolerance Explained

If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, it is like that you’re used to having waves of nausea and dizziness when you stand up or when you get up out of bed. Recently, research has shown that those who have fibromyalgia and a related condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome also are likely to have a disorder that is known as orthostatic intolerance. This condition can have a significant impact on your cardiovascular system.

Orthostatic intolerance is when there is a significant drop in your blood pressure when you stand up. It is related directly to a reduction in flow of blood, a lowered heart rate, and low blood pressure. For some time now, a reduced blood flow of blood has been considered to be a contributor to the condition of fibromyalgia.

Symptoms of Orthostatic Intolerance

Most of the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance are very similar to those of fibromyalgia. Following are some of these symptoms:

Blurry vision
Difficulty concentrating
Dizziness
Fatigue
Headaches
Nausea
Rapid breathing
Sleeplessness
However, you should be aware that you do not have to have orthostatic intolerance in order for these problems to be present. Fibromyalgia does have an effect on the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the body that has control over your heart rate.

Due to this fact, individuals suffering from fibromyalgia are likely to suffer from a lowered heart rate and low blood pressure, or hypotension, and therefore will have a reduction in the blood flow to their thalamus, and the caudate nucleus in the brain.

Tips to Improve Your Cardiovascular System

Of course, it can be quite frustrating to hear the same advice everyday if you’re struggling with performing your typical daily activities such as getting work done at home. However, it is well proven that getting daily exercise can help to relieve many of the common and painful fibromyalgia symptoms as well as strengthen your cardiovascular system. If you find that certain types of exercise are painful or put entirely too much stress on your joints, leaving you feeling overly exhausted, what else is there you can do about it?

Find the Right Type of Exercise

Physicians who treat fibromyalgia patients find that aquatic, or water, exercise provides many benefits. Water therapy, when used as a form of rehab, has been very effective among those suffering from chronic pain such as spinal injuries, sports injuries or arthritis. Aquatic therapy is low-impact and offers many of the very same benefits that land exercise does.

Aquatic Therapy Advantages

Following is a list of some of the advantages of water therapy:

Water therapy serves to increase your range of motion.
Water therapy builds your flexibility
Water therapy helps to increase blood flow
Water therapy helps your balance
Water therapy offers resistance, which builds muscle
Water therapy stimulates the blood vessels in muscles to remove waste and lactic acid.

You Can Combat Fibromyalgia Using Water Therapy

Aquatic therapy is an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that can significantly improve any issues with blood flow you may be experiencing due to your condition of fibromyalgia. Aerobic exercise is helpful because it causes your body to pump blood faster and therefore distribute blood throughout your body. When you’re exercising, your breathing will increase, and therefore, you breathe more deeply. This serves to increase the levels of oxygen in your blood. Finally, exercising on a regular basis actually helps to release endorphins that work to combat chronic fatigue and pain related to fibromyalgia.

Make Some Lifestyle Changes for Relief of Fibromyalgia

Following are a few lifestyle changes you can make in order to fight the symptoms of fibromyalgia:

First of all, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day, but especially during exercise. In order to properly function, your body needs water to fight off hydration and increase your blood volume.

Next, you must make sure you have a healthy diet. Your body needs vitamins and nutrients in order to maintain a healthy blood pressure and blood circulation- and yes, to fight off the symptoms of fibromyalgia. You should make sure you’re getting enough fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains.

Consider acupuncture or acupressure as an alternative therapy and to supplement your exercise. There have been numerous studies that have proven that acupuncture and acupressure massage can increase the flow of blood to your muscles and skin.

Finally, make sure you have a consistent sleep routine. Get in bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. Researchers have found that maintaining set sleep routines can help to improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. If you’re not able to sleep, talk to your physician about getting some medication- and make sure you’re well aware of all of the potential side effects of the medication you do take.

Further reading:

Cardiovascular Effects of FMS: www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/fibromyalgia_cardio_effects.html

Orthostatic Intolerance and Orthostatic Hypotension: www.dysautonomiasos.com/#!orthostatic-intolerance/c1ilj

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