Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
As its name suggests, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome characterized by extreme fatigue. The syndrome makes you feel so tired that it affects your quality of life. The cause of the syndrome is still unknown, though it may worsen with physical or mental activity. Some even link the syndrome to mental stress and viral infections.
The debilitating disorder does not improve with bed rest. The symptoms of the disorder affect different body systems, causing overwhelming fatigue, muscle pain, pain in the joins without any swelling, weakness, insomnia, severe headache, and impairment of memory. The affected person may feel too tired to participate in daily activities.
Other Symptoms May Include:
- Frequent episodes of sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Post-exertion malaise lasting 24 hours or more
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Problem maintaining an upright posture
- Balance problems
- Visual disturbances
- Chills/ night sweating
- Food allergy or sensitivity
- Urinary problems
The symptoms persist or recur during six consecutive months.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Though there is no single cause of the syndrome, it is a possibility that CFS is triggered by multiple reasons, including:
- Nutritional deficiency
- Abnormally low blood pressure
- Immune dysfunction
- Stress that activates the HPA axis, that is, the interaction point of the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal
- Hormonal imbalance
- Emotional trauma
- Problems to cope with temperature changes
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Drop in blood pressure
- Shortness of breath or palpitations
Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A doctor must first rule out other causes of the symptoms, since there is no brain scan, blood or lab test to diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A doctor requires a detailed medical history of the patient and conducts a thorough health examination to diagnose the syndrome and rule out other illnesses. A series of lab screening tests may be required to rule out other possible causes.
If a patient has been experiencing severe fatigue for over six months and does not show signs of any other disease, they may be diagnosed as having CFS, especially if they have some of the signs of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Everybody’s response to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment varies. Some of the common treatments for the syndrome include:
- Medications to control pain
- Sleeping pills
- Graded exercise therapy – a structured exercise program consisting of a range of motion and fitness exercises
- Psychological counseling, including cognitive behavioral therapy
- Stress reduction techniques
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, certain stress-care measures can come to your rescue. Make sure you follow a sleeping schedule, going to bed and getting up regularly at the same time. Try to avoid daytime napping and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. If possible, cut down on your caffeine intake, especially in the evening. Follow a physical activity regimen.
Acupuncture, yoga, and massage therapies can also help you manage the syndrome symptoms.