From the FMS News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Persistent pain and disturbed sleep create a tremendous stress on the body that could potentially drag down a person’s immune system. Given that people with fibromyalgia battle sleep disruption, pain and a number of other stressful symptoms, you may be wondering what impact this is having on your immune system. In fact, this was a question asked by Ines Kaufmann, M.D., and co-workers in Munich, Germany.1
Comparing 22 fibromyalgia patients with 22 age- and gender-matched healthy control subjects, Kaufmann found a significant reduction in two immune system markers. The markers in question, CD62L and CD11b/CD18, are called adhesion molecules because they stick to the surface of the white blood cells that circulate as part of the immune system.
These adhesion molecules work as communication “flags” in the immune system to get white blood cells to travel to places in the body where they need them, such as tissue injury sites. They also are involved in recognizing and destroying infectious organisms, as well as removing toxic substances and debris from the body.
A reduced number of adhesion molecules on the surface of your white blood cells would likely lead to a compromised immune system, one that lags in its ability to get rid of infections and clear up inflammation in the tissues. As a consequence, you may have a more difficult time getting over colds or flu-bugs that commonly occur during the winter months. So if you find yourself trapped with a head-cold, flu, or other infection that lingers on and on, try increasing your sleep time to help power up your immune system.
Besides lowering your ability to fend off infections, a decline in adhesion molecules on your white blood cells may also compound your painful symptoms. These molecules also play a role in triggering your white blood cells to release powerful opioid-like pain relievers in the muscles and other tissues where local injury may easily occur.
While the reduction in adhesion molecules may explain why you have trouble getting rid of infections and why the slightest injury produces more pain than it should for you, these defects in immune function cannot use these immunological findings to identify people specifically with fibromyalgia.
Kaufmann’s team has reported similar findings in people with complex regional pain syndrome.2 This means that additional studies are needed to determine the relationship between the immune system changes and the development and persistence of painful conditions. For now, your best defense is a good night’s sleep, and anything else you can do to minimize the stress of your chronic illness.
Sleep Deprivation Linked to Prediabetes
Study Shows Increased Risk for People Who Get Less Than 6 Hours of Sleep a Night
Courtesy of WebMD.com
By Caroline Wilbert – WebMD Health News
March 12, 2009 – Here is one more reason to get a good night’s sleep.
People who sleep less than six hours per night are more likely to develop impaired fasting glucose, or prediabetes, a study shows.
The research was presented this week at the American Heart Association’s Annual Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention.
The study examined the health records of nearly 1,500 participants in the Western New York Health Study. Researchers identified 91 participants who had fasting blood glucose levels of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) during baseline exams between 1996 and 2001; the participants had higher blood fasting glucose levels — between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL — at follow-up exams in 2003-2004.
Those 91 participants were compared with 273 people who had blood glucose levels of less than 100 mg/dL both at baseline and follow-up. Researchers matched the groups according to gender, race/ethnicity, and year of study enrollment.
A normal fasting blood glucose level is less than 100 mg/dL. A fasting blood glucose result of 100mg/dL to 125 mg/dL is considered impaired fasting glucose. Having impaired fasting glucose is commonly referred to as prediabetes because many people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
Participants reported how much they slept during the work week. Participants fell into three categories: short sleepers (less than six hours), mid-sleepers (six to eight hours), and long sleepers (more than eight hours).
During the six-year study period, participants who slept on average less than six hours a night during the work week were 4.56 times more likely than those getting six to eight hours of sleep to convert from normal blood sugar levels to impaired fasting glucose, researchers said. These findings took into account other factors such as age, obesity, and family history of diabetes.
No association was found in people who slept more than eight hours compared to those who slept six to eight hours.
“This study supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues,” study researcher Lisa Rafalson, PhD, a National Research Service Award fellow and research assistant professor at the University at Buffalo in New York, says in a news release.