Neural Sensitization: The Medical Key to Treatment of Chemical Injury (Pg. 2)
Types of Damage from Chemical Injury
Toxic encephalopathy (toxic brain damage) can occur. In toxic encephalopathy there is reduced blood flow to the brain. Other nerves can also be affected, called neuropathy. Neural sensitization causes blood vessel lining inflammation, which reduces blood flow to the brain and other organs.
Chemically-induced reactive airway disease (upper and lower chronic inflammation of the respiratory tract), and migraines also have these biochemical changes (neural sensitization). Lung effects are sometimes called chemical or irritant asthma. Respiratory effects can also include sinus congestion/pain often with sinus headaches; ear pain from eustachian tube blockage (swelling), burning/sore tongue and throat, hoarseness, bronchial symptoms of coughing, chest tightness and sometimes wheezing, and shortness of breath/difficulty getting enough air.
Neural sensitization also affects the gastrointestinal (sometimes called “irritable bowel”) and genital urinary tract (sometimes called “irritable bladder”, and/or vaginal/genital burning, etc.). It can also cause inflammation of the blood vessel linings (endothelium), conjunctiva (burning eyes) and skin (burning/rash).
Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, burning, and bloating. The burning is NOT from excess acid: actually the acid is reduced but the inflammation causes burning.
Blood vessel lining inflammation can cause migraines, visual changes and brain/nerve effects. Burning is a common sensation in neurogenic inflammation.
Neural sensitization can also lead to increased/abnormal biochemical response to other incoming messages to the brain: noise, light, touch, vibration, electromagnetic fields, etc.
How Damage Occurs
Inflammation and the free radicals from neural sensitization damage lipid membranes,54 which are major targets of free radical damage.54 This impairs substances entering and leaving through the membrane.54 It damages structures on the membrane that regulate hormones, messages to other body cells and many other functions.54
This widespread inflammation results in aching and fatigue, adrenal, reproductive hormone and other endocrine disturbance (often adrenal and thyroid) and results in depletion of amino acids, minerals and other nutrients.
There is disproportionate damage and loss of omega 3 essential membrane lipids because these are very vulnerable to free radical damage.
Inflammation damage also impairs the brain and nerve cell coating (myelin). This makes it harder for messages to pass in the brain and through nerves. Brain symptoms include reduced short term memory, poor attention span, difficulty with concentration, balance disturbance, trouble with complex tasks, etc. Nerve damage can cause numbness, tingling, nerve pain, visual changes and burning pain.
Loss of omega 3’s make a person more achy and have greater diabetic tendency. Damage occurs to membranes of mitochondria (energy production), ribosomes (which make proteins, enzymes), DNA (genetic material), membrane receptor sites (hormones, etc.) and other cell messenger sites needed to communicate with other cells and body organs.
The blood vessel inflammation causes reduced blood flow, and thus reduced supply of oxygen and nutrients to body organs. The red blood cell is 7 microns, but the capillary is only 3 microns, so inflammation reduces the blood cell’s ability to pass through. The brain and nerves are high oxygen-demanding organs: The brain is only 3% of body weight but uses 20% of body oxygen at rest. Reduced blood flow in the brain in toxic encephalopathy is documented1 and impairs nerve, brain and other body functions, since all body functions depend on oxygen supply and brain/nerve messages.
This ongoing inflammation increases arteriosclerosis, elevates harmful cholesterol (LDL), increases risk of neurodegenerative (Parkinsons, Alzheimers, ALS) and other degenerative disease (osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.) and autoimmune disease. Autoimmune thyroid disease and Lupus are common in chemical injury but improve with environmental controls and this chemical injury treatment.
For more detail on body effects, see factsheet: HOW CHEMICAL INJURY AFFECTS THE BODY.
Next page: Biochemistry of the Vicious Cycles