To continue our series on hidden infections, we are going to look at 3 common culprits that can be common coinfections behind Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
When symptoms of either AFS or CFS are present and treatment directed on the adrenal glands have been unsuccessful, tests should be done to determine if Epstein – Barr virus (EBV), Lyme Disease, and Candida and Molds are contributing factors.
To start us off, let’s take a look at one of the most common infections; EBV.
What is EBV?
EBV is similar to herpes and has infected up to 95% of the population! The good news, though, is that in most cases, the virus does not cause any problems.
When it is active, however, EBV is the cause of Glandular Fever and has been associated with the development of throat and lymphatic cancers.
Some of the more common signs of EBV include:
- A mild fever
- Sore throat
- Swollen Lymph nodes
There are also a couple, less common signs too:
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
- (Possible) Spleen Enlargement
It’s not hard to pick up on most of these symptoms, and it’s just as easy to combat it.
Stop it in its tracks!
While this certainly sounds scary, it’s very rare that it will ‘activate’ (and it DOESN’T necessarily cause cancer, it has just been associated with it) and, if it does, is as easy to control as taking paracetamol or ibuprofen for the fever and a course of steroids to help with any swelling, along with plenty of rest and fluids.
It will normally pass on its own with no further medication being needed.
EBV can be a tricky virus, though. It manages to hide itself within parts of the immune system by attaching to ‘B Cells’. This can lead to a possible reactivation further down the line, after the first treatment for Glandular Fever is finished.
Now that we know the ‘fix’, let’s look at how it spreads.
How does it ‘Get Around’?
EBV’s mode of transport is bodily fluids.
It can travel between anyone who is infected, most often during kissing and other ‘intimate’ moments, when the fluids enter the mouth.
So, in short, don’t kiss anyone and you will stay a part of that small community of ‘non-EBVers’, although, you might be a little bored, too.
That’s all well and good but it doesn’t really explain how this is involved with AFS!
…Or does it?
While no clear link between EBV and CFS (and AFS by association) can be found, a theory (and a very plausible one) does explain a way that they could be related.
When we look at CFS as a disease affecting the immune system, dormant EBV would have the chance to re-activate, damaging tissue and constantly setting off the immune system, slowing or stopping its recovery.
Because CFS and AFS are very similar, it makes sense that EBV could be considered a part of the differential diagnosis when patients have fatigue for an unknown reason.
While EBV is everywhere within the community, EBV that is active is rare to come across and very easy to fight.
The same, however, can’t be said about Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease? I’m not turning green, am I?
No, certainly not. Lyme Disease gets its name from the town it was first recognized in, Lyme, Connecticut.
One of the biggest problems with this disease is the difficulty in diagnosing it; lab results are only accurate 50% of the time!
There are certain ‘tells’ of Lyme Disease, however, including:
- A bull’s eye rash on the bite area (Very likely)
- Flu-like symptoms
- Rashes all over the body (After, roughly, one month)
- Muscle and joint pain
After a few months without treatment, more severe symptoms can start to appear:
- Short-term memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating and other brain functions becoming harder to use
and in very rare cases:
- Panic attacks
As you can see, it can lead to some very dangerous symptoms, so treatment is a must; as soon as possible!
Kicking the Lyme!
The only effective cure for Lyme is a course of antibiotics, up to 4 weeks long and, if it has spread throughout the body, may need to be given through an IV tube.
The problem here is that, the bacteria that causes it (Borrelia burgdorferi) is able to ‘hide in plain sight’ from antibodies, by switching between a spirochete (coil) and cell wall deficient form. Some of the bacteria can survive and the patient will continue to have these symptoms, for what seems to be an unknown cause.
What carries it?
The main carrier is believed to be the Deer Tick, or Ixodes Tick, with humans and other insects (mostly blood suckers) believed to be responsible too.
It’s not a particularly quick-acting bacteria to begin with.
When you are bitten by an insect carrying the bacteria, it will incubate in the wound for a few weeks before the typical bull’s eye rash begins to appear. Once this happens, after another few weeks it can enter the blood stream, creating rashes all across the body.
Lyme or AFS?
With the ability to survive a round of antibiotics, this sneaky disease can be very easily attributed to CFS and AFS, all sharing very similar symptoms.
If patients complain of fatigue after a round of ‘successful’ medication, doctors may (incorrectly) diagnose an underlying problem, such as CFS; the end result is that the patient ends up on a course of drugs designed to fight a completely different disease, causing the Lyme to continue running rampant through the system unnoticed.
Now, onto the last stealth disease on our ‘hit list’: Candida.
Rise of the (gut) fungus
Candida is yeast that is found naturally in the small intestines. It is usually associated with yeast infections of the vagina or fungal infections on skin and nails but, given the chance, it can become a dominant fungus within the gut, becoming a stealth infection very quickly.
When this happens, quite a few symptoms appear, among them:
- Intestinal problems
- Increased internal body stress
- Diarrhoea and constipation
- Concentration problems
- Physical weakness
This is all caused by the fungus turning sugar into an alcohol. It sits in the gut and forces the body to use extra energy and nutrients to break it down, creating undue stress on the body.
Candida can also cause an increase in allergies as well as raise the levels of acetaldehyde in the stomach when sugar is eaten, creating a toxic environment that can affect many different parts of the body.
Treatment of Candida can be a tricky process; push too hard and you can cause problems in other areas of the body; not hard enough and the problem is still there.
Where does it begin and end?
As I said earlier, Candida is a natural part of the human body, so it makes sense that the way to ‘get rid of it’ is to alter aspects of your personal life.
Things that can cause Candida to grow uncontrollably all revolve around the body’s natural flora and imbalances within the stomach. Plenty of things can cause this to happen:
- overuse of antibiotics
- long periods of stress (emotional or physical)
- hormonal imbalances
- Poor diet
- Drinking lots of alcohol regularly
- High usage of progesterone creams
While one of these on its own is unlikely to cause a problem, when they start stacking on top of each other, you create the perfect environment for Candida to rise up and ‘take over’.
An aggressive stance to fight Candida can be reckless, though. It is better to look at ways to keep the immune system healthy, but if medical treatment is needed, the overall immune state of the body needs to be considered as there is a chance to do more damage than good.
We can see very easily how a hidden Candida infection could be thought of as AFS.
The fungal fatigue
Because the only way to test for Candida is through a stool sample, it can take a long time to diagnose; a doctor has to pay very close attention to all the details and be able to trace it back to the stomach. The similar symptoms can sometimes give an incorrect diagnosis, taking even longer for the problem to be properly dealt with.
The key to overcoming CFS
Several areas need to be addressed when considering CFS is present.
These areas include:
- Evaluating the guts microflora
- Blood and stool samples to help detect hidden pathogens
- Testing of the Adrenal glands and why they are failing – Chemical and physical stressors, and inflammation
- Food sensitivity can cause inflammation and stress on the Adrenal glands, usually not ‘fitting in’ with your immune system
- Evaluating the Gut Barrier, which tests which proteins make up the structural integrity of the cells in the intestine
- Changes in diet, guided by a holistic health care practitioner, can help reduce stress on the Adrenal glands
- Hormonal shifts can produce a problem. They can be Thyroid, Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA, DHT or Testosterone
- Chemical/environmental/heavy metal burdens
There is so much more to discovering the root of AFS than a simple saliva test. While these show that the Adrenal gland is being affected, it doesn’t tell us what the underlying problem is. This is why it’s so important to work with a knowledgeable doctor and avoid self-treating.
In a world of drug resistant bacteria, we are seeing a rise in these stealth infections that are being linked to CFS, AFS and even Fibromyalgia.
Most laboratory test have trouble discovering the cause of AFS; it’s normally a well-trained doctor, using patient history, tests and a bit of detective work that will be able to diagnose and treat a stealth infection. This means it takes longer to recover from because the infection has had time to take hold of the body.
Before fighting off the cause of the Adrenal failure, strengthening the liver and Adrenal glands is the top priority, allowing the underlying disease to be fought off easier and with less chance of backlash.
The best approach is to strengthen the immune system through use of natural compounds, such as:
- Biofilm disruptors
- Digestive Enzymes
- Immunity Boosters
- Herbal Antibiotics
- Detoxification and Adrenal support is a must have pieces of the recovery plan when fighting off infections at a subclinical base
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