Do you take anti-inflammatories on a regular basis? A lot of people withfibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome do. We don't know of any special dangers we face from them, but because our conditions are chronic, many of us take them for decades.
Because we often take medications associated with more high-profile side effects, such as narcotics and antidepressants, it's easy to forget that non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can be dangerous. That goes for over-the-counter meds -- Advil, Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen) -- as well as prescription ones. Here's a story shared by a reader here:
"I took [NSAIDs] for 25 years and in 2008, they almost killed me. My kidneys were failing and my liver enzymes were high and I had fatty liver. For 3 months I was flat on my back and could only eat a few bites a day and forced a few swallows of water and was in terrible pain. .... I finally found out it was the NSAIDs and stopped taking them and the kidneys and liver healed. Watch for any problems with the NSAIDs." - Char
Char's story makes me really grateful for my primary doctor, who keeps a close eye on my kidney and liver function. A couple of years ago, my liver enzymes were really high, which put me at risk for fatty liver and cirrhosis. That scared me! In response, I weaned off of the prescription NSAID I'd been taking for years. When we checked a few months later, the levels were much closer to normal.
It wasn't easy for me to go without daily NSAIDs. Fibromyalgia isn't linked to inflammation (except for possibly in the fascia), but my autoimmune thyroid condition is. My rheumatologist also thinks I have a rare condition that causes my body to hold on to inflammation. (Some cases of chronic fatigue syndrome involve inflammation, as do many of our overlapping conditions.)
As expected, not taking NSAIDs did make me puff up. To counter that, I increased my Omega-3 and rhodiola supplements and worked to get more anti-inflammatory foods into my regular diet. My doctor also referred me to massage to help me through the transition.
I do still take NSAIDs from time to time, but not on a daily basis, and usually only when I have an injury or when my thyroid condition flares. We're continuing to watch my levels, and so far, I'm doing pretty well.
Of course, NSAIDs aren't the only drugs that can be hard on our liver and kidneys. Narcotics, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, Tylenol (acetaminophen) ... all of them can damage the liver and/or kidneys, depending on how they are processed. Any of us who are taking medications long term need to be aware of their impact on our overall health.
Have you had your kidney and liver function checked? How were they? Have you taken steps to improve function? Or do you have a horror story, like Char? Leave your comments below!
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