Saturday, March 03, 2012

Saline Treatment Options for ME and POTS

I am trying to collect some information for future carers that I may or may not have so from time to time I will include some treatment protocols which I would be willing to try.  Saline Treatments are proving helpful to some people with ME and there is also a salt/vitamin C protocol advocated by some for Lyme Disease.  I mention Lyme Disease because there have been many ME sufferers who have been eventually found to be suffering from chronic Lyme Disease.

I have had positive experiences with drinking electrolyte (salt) drinks at least a litre a day.  A recipe for a cheap homemade version without the added sugar is available online but I must admit I have enjoyed Staminade Blue, Gatorade and Powerade powder mixes and I do believe they help when I have a tendancy towards one kind of dizziness that I experience.  Intravenous (IV) Saline takes the idea one step further and this helps treat an often unrecognized condition called POTS - Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome.  The effects of intravenous saline are more immediate than drinking sports drinks throughout the day so it is important to have a little background knowledge especially with regard to the blood-pressure boosting effects of salt protocols.  This can be a good thing for people with predominantly low blood pressure but obviously it will not suit someone with high blood pressure.

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There is some research to suggest that orthostatic intolerances like POTS are a result of low blood volume often found in people with ME and this in turn may be a function of small heart size.  This is further explained in Chapter 5 of a book edited by Christopher Snell called An International Perspective on the Future of Research in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In this chapter, Kunihisa Miwa considers a small heart to be a predisposing factor towards Chronic Fatigue Syndrome resulting in low cardiac output.IV Saline is used to build blood volume with the aim of minimizing the tachycardia, breathlessness and dizziness that patients experience.  If you want the nitty gritty on Saline IV's from the perspective of a sufferer then Sarah's World Blog has a comprehensive coverage of the important details.

It is interesting to note that Dr David Bell, the treating doctor at the Lyndonville ME/CFS outbreak, also inadvertently discovered that IV Saline treatment was helping many patients. Some of his patients were receiving intravenous vitamins and gammaglobulin in a saline base and the positive outcomes were not immediately attributed to the saline component because it was the norm to consider a saline drip as placebo in medical trials.  At the time of reporting his findings, Dr Bell did not think he was witnessing a placebo response and he stated that he had found the most effective treatment for severe ME/CFS in 21 years of looking.  It is important to note that PICC line infections are a risk factor during intravenous therapy and that the effects of saline treatment are only temporary and not a cure.  Therefore it becomes an ongoing treatment every few days and once the treatment is stopped, so too do the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance return.

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