For myself, I have found certain things that tend to result in flares of my fibro symptoms. To some degree each person is different, but some of these might be more common. So, in the hope of helping my fibro-friends, here’s a list of what I try to avoid that I have found to result in flares for me.
By using your daily log or mapping application, you can also isolate triggers for yourself. It is important to note these and do your best to avoid them. As I said, each person can vary considerably as to his or her symptom triggers, so you really should make your own list and work to avoid these.
Of course, there is also the factor of moderation.
Many of the items on my list might not cause a flare for me if I only indulge in small amounts, but that’s just me.
Here’s my Flares Culprit List:
- SUGAR and SIMPLE CARBS – I do best when I eliminate these completely from my diet. I replace sugar with Stevia, monk fruit, yacon syrup and coconut sugar. Depending on what I am trying to sweeten, I use different sweeteners that work best. (See other blog posts just done on alternatives to sugar).
- ALCOHOL – I stay away from any sweet drinks, never drink on an empty stomach and never more than two drinks. When I have violated any of these points I have always been very sorry. Alcohol raises and crashes your blood sugar and often causes worsening of symptoms. A very small glass of red wine (more like half a glass) has some antioxidant benefits and can be tolerated.
- STRESS – I can feel the cortisol pumping into my system when I am stressed. Removing all stress factors from my daily life has helped tremendously.
- BAD SLEEP – Not getting enough sleep or a lot of disturbed sleep, particularly if over several days, can send me into a flare.
- CAFFEINE – Caffeine initiates the production of insulin, which in turn lowers your blood sugar and leaves you with less energy. You will find that decaffeinated and herbal teas are also quite good, and once you are through some initial withdrawals, you can learn to live without coffee. If you have to have coffee, then drink only organic decaf coffees and you really can’t tell the difference. I say organic as many coffees can have high concentrations of dangerous pesticides, so organic is important. I use to heavily caffeinate myself to try and stay awake and I paid the price for this short and long term.
- STAYING UP LATE – Getting good sleep has been a really important aspect of not getting flares. If I stay up late, then I often have trouble sleeping, so I have found it better to find my sweet spot of time for bed and stick to it.
- SMOKING OR OTHER TOXINS – Smoking cigarettes or being around someone who smokes often, or if you live in or frequent an area with high levels of pollution, can result in a harmful toxic load that your body has to try and deal with. Living in an area with bad water similarly had very bad effects on my health. See more about this in another chapter.
- TRAVELING – Whether by car or plane I usually have some backlash after a medium to longer trip.
The key is to learn what tends to trigger these flare ups and use self-discipline to avoid them. The best is a stable, steady environment with no extra stressors, no radical changes in schedule, diet, activity or stress and no toxic load on the body. However, because we don’t live in an ideal world and this is not always possible, it is vital that you put in some control over your environment to avoid those factors that can knock you on your butt.