Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome ?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is generally characterized by long-term fatigue that does not get resolved by rest. The feeling of exhaustion tends to get worse when doing any kind of mental or physical activity. This condition is often debilitating as it disrupts one’s daily functioning. CFS excludes no one as it affects all age groups, from children to adults.

People suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome should seek medical attention as it may lead to more serious complications and make treatment more difficult. Those suspected to be suffering from the disease will be evaluated thoroughly to rule out other health conditions whose symptoms resemble that of CFS. The treatment of the condition is planned based on the needs of each patient.

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Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It is not clear why CFS develops and experts are still trying to establish the root cause. There had been various presumptions about its cause, but experts believed that the syndrome develops due to a combination of several contributing factors. One of the studies revolves around certain viruses, which include the HHV-6 virus (or human herpes virus-6), the Epstein-Barr virus and the virus that causes mouse leukemia. Scientists are also still trying to establish the connection between genetics, environmental factors, stress and previous bouts of illnesses in the development of CFS.

CFS should not be taken for granted because this may prevent the afflicted person from enjoying his/her life to the fullest. Indeed, the syndrome has been the number one cause of frequent absences from work. CFS can also lead to social isolation, and eventually, depression. Certainly, individuals should seek medical advice upon experiencing the symptoms linked to the disorder.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Statistics

Anyone can get afflicted by CFS, from children and teens, to adults and the elderly. However, it has been found to commonly occur between 30 and 50 years of age, affecting 2 in every 1,000 people. Studies also show that the syndrome is more common among women than men, and this is because females are more likely to report their symptoms than males. Furthermore, people living sedentary lifestyles, those who are overweight and individuals who are under stress, will most likely suffer from CFS than any other group of people.

The chances of recovery significantly vary with every sufferer, but it has been found that adolescents have better prognosis than adults, as improvement occurs a year or two after diagnosis. One the other hand half of adult CFS patients get better from the syndrome and live normally within 5 years.

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Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The syndrome is primarily manifested by extreme exhaustion that does not improve even with ample rest. This severe fatigue is experienced for 6 months or longer and greatly affects the social, secular and personal life of the afflicted individual. Aside from this, other symptoms may also arise, including:

  • Poor concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Poor memory
  • Headaches
  • Un-refreshing sleep
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Soft lymph nodes in the armpits or neck

Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Diagnosis is a bit tricky for CFS sufferers because other health conditions also have the same symptoms. It is for this reason that doctors conduct an array of tests to ensure that the symptoms are not caused by other medical problems, such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, anemia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, insomnia, restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea.

If the symptoms are not caused by other medical, mental or sleeping disorder, the doctor will compare the symptoms to the guidelines for diagnosing CFS. The patient need not experience all of them. He/she just has to exhibit four symptoms cited in the guidelines and suffer from extreme exhaustion and fatigue for 6 months to be diagnosed with CFS.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment

CFS treatment is primarily targeted towards relieving the symptoms to allow the patient to live his/her life normally. The doctor will make a treatment plan based on the symptoms and their severity. The treatment for the condition may involve taking medications like sleeping pills for those with sleeping problems and antidepressants to combat depression. Drugs may also be combined with therapy to make the treatment more effective. The patient may have to go through psychological counseling and graded exercise programs for strength and stamina.

CFS – Alternative Remedies

Some alternative treatment methods for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are gaining popularity these days due to their effectiveness. Some of these are:

  • L-Carnitine

Studies showed that people suffering from CFS have low levels of L-carnitine which is thought to be responsible for muscle pain and fatigue which makes the individual tire easily after exercise.

  • Ginseng

This herb has long been used in fighting fatigue and in increasing a person’s energy level.

  • Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acid supplements are used in correcting the disorder naturally to recompense the loss 6-desaturated EFAs due to viruses.

  • Coenzyme Q10

This compound is not just an antioxidant but also helps in producing ATP which is the main source of energy in body cells.

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  3. Asperger’s syndrome in adults-Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
  4. Post Concussion Syndrome
  5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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