Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a condition that causes daily fatigue that is severe enough to interrupt your daily life. While it has been a recognized condition for decades, there is still no known cause or risk factors for developing CFS.

Both long and short-term studies into the condition reveal conflicting information, so chronic fatigue syndrome may actually be a cluster of related disorders instead. Diagnosis relies largely on ruling out other potential causes of profound fatigue, but there are new blood tests and brain scans showing promise as tests for CFS.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The symptoms may come on suddenly or develop slowly over the course of a few years. Women are the most likely to experience this condition, but men and children of all ages can also report the same symptoms.

Symptoms include

  • Extreme fatigue that does not improve after rest
  • Increased fatigue and physical pain after activity, even basic daily functions
  • Muscle weakness and pain of varying intensity
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Loss of short and long-term memory
  • Insomnia or constant waking throughout the night

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes

Scientists don’t know the exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. For some, the symptoms of the disorder manifest after a viral infection. Potentially, it’s a combination of factors that predispose an individual to this syndrome. Here are factors related to chronic fatigue syndrome that scientists continue to study:

Hormonal Imbalances

People with this disorder most of the time experience abnormal levels of hormones which are produced by the pituitary glands, hypothalamus, and adrenal glands. However, the magnitude of these abnormal levels is still unknown.

Viral Infections

Researchers are still studying the relationship between viral infection and the disorder since some people develop it right after having a viral infection.

Problems with the Immune System

Individuals with this disorder appear to have a slightly impaired immune system. However, it is unclear whether these immune problems are sufficient to cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated?

There is no definitive cure or treatment for chronic fatigue, so each patient must work closely with multiple specialists to find a plan that works for them.

Treatment includes

Chronic fatigue sufferers combine physical therapy, exercise, medication, psychotherapy, alternative treatments like acupuncture, and home remedies all at once.

Medications include pain killers, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and treatments that target specific symptoms like vertigo or insomnia. Many patients must heavily modify their lifestyles to make the most of what energy they can muster.

Support groups and therapy help patients deal with the ramifications of extreme fatigue and are especially important when there’s a compounding problem like alcohol, drug, or medication abuse.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Prevention

Since this condition is mysterious in many ways, prevention also comes with its challenges. Although there are no direct prevention strategies, a person can take healthy life choices that can aid in preventing an occurrence of the disorder.

Avoid Overexertion

Although the body may feel in excellent shape, it is unwise to push it beyond its personal energy levels. Overindulging in physical and mental activities is one of the reasons one gets this disorder.

Deal with Stress

Stress emanates from the different areas of life including family, finances, career, school, and work, among many others. Talking out the stress with a trusted friend, therapist, or support group can preclude loss of energy through stress.

Create Judicious Schedules

Adopt an appropriate daily schedule that has breaks in between tasks to act as energy boosters.

Perform Healthy Exercises

A supervised moderate exercising plan is beneficial and can serve as an effective energy booster. Too much exercise can pose health risks that can push an individual right into chronic fatigue syndrome.