Chronic Fatigue Syndrome - Symptoms & Treatment
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn't improve with bed rest and may worsen with physical or mental activity. Although it is not a new disease, and has been referred to by other names since the 1700s, it still remains the subject of a great deal of controversy. But several years of research have confirmed that CFS is indeed a physical illness - just one that's not fully understood. Chronic fatigue syndrome may occur after an infection such as a cold or viral syndrome. It can start during or shortly after a period of high stress or come on gradually without any clear starting point or any obvious cause. Unlike the mind fog of a serious hangover, to which researchers have compared chronic fatigue syndrome, the profound weakness of chronic fatigue syndrome does not go away with a few good nights of sleep. An estimated half a million people in the United States have a CFS-like condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Women are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome two to four times as often as men are. However, it's unclear whether chronic fatigue syndrome affects women more frequently or if women report it to their doctors more often than men do.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disease that was first named in the 1980s. Even now, as increasing numbers of people are being diagnosed with CFS, many people inside and outside the health professions still doubt its existence or maintain that it's a psychological ailment. People previously healthy and full of energy may experience a variety of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, weakness and headaches as well as difficulty concentrating and painful joints, muscles and lymph nodes. Typically CFS follows a viral infection (e.g. cold or viral stomach bug), and is sometimes found after mononucleosis infections. Non-specific symptoms of fatigue , tiredness , exhaustion , and aches make CFS difficult to diagnose and similar to other conditions such as lupus , multiple sclerosis , fibromyalgia and Lyme disease (among others). People with CFS are often unable to perform normally at work and home because of their long-term fatigue and problems with short-term memory. The hallmark symptoms of CFS are overwhelming fatigue and weakness that make it extremely difficult to perform routine and daily tasks, like getting out of bed, dressing, and eating. The illness can severely affect school, work, and leisure activities, and cause physical and emotional symptoms that can last for months or even years.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The common Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome :
- Iron deficiency anemia.
- Dysfunction in the immune system.
- Virus infection, such as Epstein-Barr virus or human herpesvirus.
- History of allergies.
- Changes in the levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands.
- Mild chronic low blood pressure (hypotension).
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Some Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome :
- Persistent fatigue.
- Tender lymph nodes.
- Intermittent fatigue.
- Fatigue from exertion.
- Muscle and joint aches.
- Inability to concentrate.
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Adjusting your daily routine so that you have regular sleep patterns can help.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may identify the thoughts and feelings causing certain behaviour, and help you develop new ways of coping. It's one of the most effective treatments for CFS.
- Over the counter painkillers can help to ease muscle and joint pain and headaches. Stronger painkillers can also be prescribed by your GP, although they should only be for short-term use.
- Antidepressants can be useful for people who have depression with CFS.
- Pacing is an important way of controlling symptoms. It means finding a balance between activity and rest, and avoiding large bursts of exercise that may set you back. Learning how to make the most of your energy can help to increase the amount you can do.
- Medications to treat anxiety (antianxiety drugs).