Does HPA Affect Fibromyalgia And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Abnormal levels of certain chemicals regulated in the HPA axis area of the brain system, have been proposed as a cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and also have some influence in Fibromyalgia. This system controls important functions, including sleep, stress response, and depression. Of particular interest to researchers, are the chemicals and other factors listed below that are controlled by the HPA axis.
The HPA axis is involved in the neurobiology of mood disorders and functional illnesses, including anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, insomnia, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, major depressive disorder, burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and alcoholism. Antidepressants, which are routinely prescribed for many of these illnesses, serve to regulate HPA axis function. All of these conditions and their symptoms are commonly seen in Chronic Lyme disease patients that contain a host of infections and neurotoxins that block serotonin receptors in the brain.
The theory for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome having a viral cause is not based on hard evidence, rather, on an ever-growing series of observations that suggest this association:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as Fibromyalgia and Autoimmune disease patients are often found with elevated levels of antibodies to many organisms that cause fatigue and other Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms. Such organisms include those that cause Lyme disease, Candida (“yeast infection”), herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6), human T cell lymph tropic virus (HTLV), Epstein-Barr, measles, coxsackie B, cytomegalovirus, or parvovirus.
Many of these infectious agents are very common; however, none have emerged as a definitive cause of CFS. Well-designed studies of patients who met strict criteria for CFS without any known cause have not found an increased incidence of any specific infection(s).
In up to 80% of cases, CFS starts suddenly with a flu-like condition. In the U.S., there have been reports of cluster outbreaks of CFS occurring within the same household, workplace, and community (but most have not been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). However, most cases of CFS occur sporadically in individuals, and do not appear to be contagious. These all have the pattern of infections and more importantly, complexes of infections taking over the patient’s immune system, which is clearly seen in the depressed CD57 markers found in almost all of this population.