Chronic Fatigue Syndrome goes beyond general tiredness and impacts your days, mood and energy. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome you know that on some days, even brushing your teeth can feel like a marathon. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest and can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition. CFS can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
The cause of CFS is unknown. Researchers speculate that contributing factors may include viruses, a weakened immune system, stress, and hormonal imbalances. It’s also possible that some people are genetically predisposed to develop CFS.
Though CFS can sometimes develop after a viral infection, no single type of infection has been found to cause CFS. Some viral infections that have been studied about CFS include Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 6, Ross River virus (RRV), and rubella.
Infections caused by bacteria, including Coxiella burnetiiand Mycoplasma pneumoniae, have also been studied concerning CFS.
People with CFS sometimes have weakened immune systems, but doctors don’t know whether this is enough to cause the disorder. People with CFS can also sometimes have abnormal hormone levels. Doctors haven’t yet concluded whether this is significant, either.
CFS is most commonly seen among people in their 40s and 50s. Sex also plays a vital role in CFS, as women are two to four times more likely to be diagnosed with CFS than men.
Other factors that may increase your risk for CFS include genetic predisposition, allergies, stress, and environmental factors.
Symptoms of CFS vary based on the individual and the severity of the condition. The most common symptom is fatigue that’s severe enough to interfere with your daily activities. For CFS to be diagnosed, a significantly reduced ability to perform your usual daily activities with fatigue must last for at least six months. It must not be curable with bed rest. You may also experience extreme fatigue after physical or mental activities, which is referred to as post-exertional malaise (PEM). It can last for more than 24 hours after the event.
CFS can also introduce sleep problems, such as feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep, chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders. Physical symptoms of CFS may include muscle pain, frequent headaches, multi-joint pain without redness or swelling, recurrent sore throat, tender and swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits.
For some people, CFS affects them in cycles, with periods of feeling worse and then better. Symptoms may sometimes even disappear completely, which is referred to as remission. However, it’s still possible for the symptoms to return later, which is referred to as a relapse.
There’s currently no specific cure for CFS. Each person has different symptoms and, therefore, may require different types of treatment to manage the disorder and relieve their symptoms.
Living with chronic fatigue syndrome can be challenging and frustrating. Don’t give up on your chance to feel better! Work with your team of healthcare providers to create the best treatment plan for you. They can go over the possible benefits and side effects of the therapies with you!
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!