Categorized | Metabolism

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is often referred to as CFS, is a medical condition that results in the sufferer experiencing such high levels of fatigue that they find it challenging to complete normal activities that take places on a day to day basis.

The extreme amount of fatigue that exists with the condition must exist for a period of six months or longer, without a known cause, for the individual to be diagnosed with the condition. The usual Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms that are experienced often mimic that of other medical issues, which is why medical professionals often experience difficulty in officially diagnosing the medical condition. At this time, the cause of the disorder is not known and there is no official cure. However, there are treatments available for the fatigue syndrome that assists in alleviating the uncomfortable, and often debilitating, symptoms. In this guide, you will learn many important facts regarding this exhaustion disorder.

The Basics

As mentioned previously, this problem is diagnosed when a person has experienced complications with fatigue for a period of six months or longer and when it is established that there is no other logical explanation for the overwhelming tiredness. Unlike standard fatigue that occurs normally each day, this fatigue typically hinders a person’s ability to engage in the most basic of tasks, such as taking a bath or even consuming meals, and nearly always occurs consistently throughout each day – not just at the end of the day.

The amount of and severity of the tiredness and lack of energy that is experienced by a CFS patient often varies and may worsen if the person engages in movements and exercises. There are many patients that may suffer from the symptoms of chronic tiredness immediately after engaging in cognitive functions, such as thinking. The condition may develop suddenly in some individuals. In others, it progressively develops over time. This condition has also been referred to as “Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome”, or “CFIDS”, and “Myalgic Encephalomyelitis”, or “ME”, for short.

Theories Surrounding the Cause

It is a known fact that medical professionals have yet to uncover the true cause of this condition; however, there are many theories surrounding the cause. Throughout history, numerous patients have stated that they developed the syndrome immediately following an infection. It is common to hear of those that have recovered from a standard cold or the Epstein-Barr virus to expound on the fact that their CFS developed immediately after the infection.

However, there are cases in which the symptoms of chronic exhaustion developed immediately following a period in which the patient endured an exceptionally high amount of stress. The bacteria and viruses from infections and high stress levels often impact a person’s physiological health in a dramatic fashion. When these complications occur, the immune system may become weak – leaving the person susceptible to other types of medical issues. According to those that seek to uncover the cause of CFS, it could be this vulnerability that results in a patient developing the condition. This theory is why the condition is often referred to as “Immune Dysfunction Syndrome”.

Common Symptoms

Man Yawning imageApart from fatigue, there are many common symptoms that may be experienced with prolonged fatigue. In the earliest stages of the condition, many report that they feel as if they have developed the flu.

As time progresses, symptoms associated with persistent tiredness may wax and wane in severity.

The following outlines those symptoms that are most commonly experienced by those that experience this fatigue-related condition:

  • Individuals with this condition feel unusually tired – even after resting for an appropriate amount of time.
  • It is extremely common for sufferers to experience fatigue up to a day or longer after engaging in any type of exercise – whether it is physical or mental.
  • Cognitive issues, such as the inability to focus and remember things, are one of the most common Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms.
  • Many sufferers find that they experience pain and tenderness in the muscles and joints. This pain typically does not include discoloration or swelling.
  • The lymph nodes in the body – particularly those in the neck and those located under the arm – may start to swell and become tender.
  • Experiencing issues, such as a sore throat, is a very common occurrence with frequent exhaustion.
  • Many people find that when they suffer from fatigue-related Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, they experience visual complications such as blurred vision and pain in the eyes.
  • Psychological symptoms such as mood swings and anxiety may be experienced as a result of CFS.
  • Gastrointestinal complications, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, may be experienced.
  • Many sufferers may find that they develop sensitivities to certain substances, such as foods, medications and smells.
  • Balance issues, dizzy spells, and difficulty holding the body in the upright position may be experienced as a result of chronic fatigue.
  • Many patients may find that they start to gain weight because the body is unable to speed up metabolism due to its level of exhaustion.

But, you have to be careful.  There are other health disorders that are similar, like, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Mononucleosis, Hypothyroidism and as mentioned before Epstein Barr Virus.  Only your doctor can help you rule out these other things.

Common Treatments

Chronic Fatigue is a disease that cannot be cured, at this time. However, there are several treatments that may be used in order to treat the symptoms associated with the condition.

Most individuals with this medical condition turn to their doctor for assistance. Essentially, there are two main methods of treating the symptoms associated with chronic fatigue levels. The first method is through lifestyle changes and the second method is through medication.

In addition to these strategies, many individuals cope with the condition by indulging in alternative treatments, joining a support group and educating themselves on the issue. It is not at all unusual for patients to use a combination of treatments in order to achieve the highest level of success in coping with their symptoms.

When choosing to go with lifestyle changes, it is important to pay close attention to the foods that you consume, the chemicals that you place within your body, the physical activities that you engage in and the stressors that you experience on a daily basis. By paying attention to these factors, you will be able to determine the triggers that result in your symptoms. In order to make the most of lifestyle changes, you should consider journaling about your activities and the items that you consume for approximately two weeks.

If you start to experience Chronic Fatigue Syndrome type symptoms, you should make note of them in your journal. Once the two week span has passed, you may then review the information to determine if your symptoms correlate to any activities, foods, substances or stressors that you have experienced. Once you find a culprit, you may start the process of eliminating it from your life.

In addition to day to day changes, many people with this fatigue illness take medications in order to sooth the symptoms associated with their condition. You may choose from over-the-counter medications or consult a doctor about prescription drugs.

Pain relievers and medications that assist in controlling allergy symptoms are the most effective and commonly used over-the-counter drugs for excessive fatigue issues. In addition to this, products that assist in speeding up the metabolism may assist in alleviating unwanted weight and reducing fatigue.

Examples of these types of medications include vitamins, minerals and similar types of nutrients. The most common prescription drugs that are used are those that assist in optimizing sleep, such as Doxepin and Amitriptyline. If you experience pain with the condition, prescription pain pills may be prescribed. However, it is important to avoid taking those that lead to addiction and more serious health complications.

Conclusion

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is an intrusive medical condition that has the ability to impact every single aspect of your life. Not only do you experience low energy levels and extreme degrees of fatigue, but you may also experience pain throughout the body, psychological complications, emotional problems and weight gain. If you are diagnosed with the condition, it is important to understand that there is no cure for the condition.

However, there are treatments that will assist in alleviating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms. Examples include learning techniques that will naturally speed up metabolism, lifestyle changes, dietary changes, increasing the use of vitamins and minerals, medication therapy and support groups.
In order to cope with the condition, it is essential that you discuss your options with your family physician in order to create a customized treatment plan that is suited for your individual needs.

 

 

About Ken Black

I am 55 years old, like to Golf, surf the Net, read Christian books and watch videos. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am also an author and publisher on the Web. Visit my Google Plus page at Google

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