Are you feeling tired all the time, for no specific reason? No matter how much you sleep, you just never feel refreshed?
You may be experiencing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
This is a complicated syndrome with a dominant symptom of extreme fatigue with no underlying medical condition. The fatigue doesn’t improve with rest, but may worsen with physical or mental activity.
Doctors have many theories as to what causes CFS, but the real cause is still unknown. Some of these theories include from viral infections to physical stress, or even a combination of certain factors. There is also no specific test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, although your doctor may want to rule out any other health problems before making a diagnosis.
- Sleep disorders. Chronic fatigue can be caused by sleep disorders. A sleep study can determine if your rest is being disturbed by disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome or insomnia.
- Medical problems. Fatigue is a common symptom in several medical conditions, such as anemia, diabetes and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Lab tests can check your blood for evidence of some of the top suspects.
- Mental health issues. Fatigue is also a symptom of a variety of mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. A counselor can help determine if one of these problems is causing your fatigue.
What are the general symptoms of CFS?
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
- Unexplained muscle pain
- Pain that moves from one joint to another without swelling or redness
- Headache of a new type, pattern or severity
- Lack of refreshing sleep
- Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
Because scientists don’t know exactly what causes CFS, they have indicated that some people may be born with a predisposition to CFS. Studies have been done linking certain factors to CFS such as:
- Viral infections. Because some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers have wondered if some viruses might trigger the disorder. Suspicious viruses have included Epstein-Barr, human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia viruses. No conclusive link has yet been found.
- Immune system problems. The immune systems of people who have chronic fatigue syndrome appear to be impaired slightly, but it’s unclear if this impairment is enough to actually cause the disorder.
- Hormonal imbalances. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome also sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland or adrenal glands. But the significance of these abnormalities is still unknown.
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Age. Although CFS can occur at any age, it more commonly is found in those in their 40’s and 50’s.
- Your sex. Studies show that woman are more likely to develop CFS, although the study’s outcome may be incorrect due to men not seeking medical advice.
- Lifestyle. People who are overweight and inactive are more likely to develop chronic fatigue syndrome. Stress also appears to be a factor.
Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Social isolation
- Lifestyle restrictions
- Increased work absences
Treatment for CFS may include anti-depressants and/or a psychological evaluation with the possibility of extra sessions to address any mental issues.
TOP TIP: Doctors have recently turned to alternative medicine, to treat the symptoms of CFS. These methods have been found to have a more positive and long-lasting effect on the patient. Stay tuned, as Bellabaci will be discussing your natural alternatives soon!
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