Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) is a debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t go away with rest.

Although CFS/ME and SEID share the same major symptom of chronic fatigue, there is variation between the definitions of these disorders. The symptom of chronic fatigue also may arise from more than one underlying condition.

Biological, genetic, infectious, and psychological mechanisms have been proposed, but the cause is not understood. The fatigue of CFS is not due to ongoing exertion and is not due to any other medical condition.

Causes:

The cause of CFS is unknown, but some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors such as;

  • Viral infections.
  • Psychological stress.
  • Hypotension (unusually low blood pressure).
  • Weakened immune system.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Some people may be genetically predisposed to develop CFS.
  • Researchers have found that a person who has been infected with at least three of the implicated pathogens such as; Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpes virus 6, Ross River virus (RRV), rubella, Coxiella burnetti, and mycoplasma, has a greater chance of developing CFS.

Symptoms/Signs:

  • frequent or recurring sore throat,
  • Difficulty maintaining an upright position and balance problems.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, or noise.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome such as bloating, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea.
  • Visual disturbances (sensitivity to light, blurring, eye pain).
  • Depression or mood problems (irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks).
  • Loss of memory or concentration.
  • Feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep.
  • Chronic insomnia (and other sleep disorders).
  • Muscle pain.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Multi-joint pain without redness or swelling.
  • Frequent sore throat.
  • Tender lymph nodes in your neck and armpits.

 

How is CFS Diagnosed?

Patients must have at least four of the above symptoms listed above to be diagonised with CFS. They must also have severe, unexplained fatigue that cannot be cured with bed rest. The fatigue and other symptoms must last for at least six months or longer.

Patients may also experience symptoms of CFS if they are severely obese or have depressive or sleep disorders. The side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can mimic CFS as well. Because the symptoms of CFS is synonymous with those of other conditions, it is important not to self-diagnose and to talk to your doctor.

 

Prevention:

  • Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake will help you sleep better and ease your insomnia.
  • You should limit your nicotine and alcohol intake.
  • Create a sleep routine and try to avoid napping during the day.
  • Going to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every morning helps hinder symptoms trigger.
  • It is also important to pace yourself during activities.
  • Overexertion can make your symptoms worse and bring on an episode of fatigue.
  • Avoid emotional and physical stress.
  • Take time each day to relax or participate in activities you enjoy.

 

 

 

Complications:

Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Lifestyle restrictions
  • Increased work absences

 

Treatment:

 

Article By: eDokita Team

 

Reference

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  2. Mayo clinic. Complications of CFS. 2016. Web
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 2016. Web
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  5. Rimes, K. A. (1 January 2005).”Treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome” (PDF). Occupational Medicine. 55 (1): 32–39. doi:1093/occmed/kqi015
  6. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.2012