Do you feel tired and lethargic despite having a good night’s sleep and eating three healthy meals every day? You’re not alone. This strange yet concerning condition called CFS (short for chronic fatigue syndrome) affects millions of people around the world, and can make your daily life miserable. This is a disorder characterized by extreme weakness and fatigue, and is often unexplained by any medical condition.
Contrary to the popular belief, CFS isn’t just about being tired. People affected by this condition tend to feel so fatigued and weak that it interferes with their daily functioning. Let’s take a closer look at this health condition and understand its highs and lows, its symptoms, causes and treatment options.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms And Signs:
As with most conditions, CFS comes with a lot of warnings. There are eight official signs and symptoms associated with CFS, along with some additional others. Here we
1. Loss of memory or concentration
2. Unexplained muscle pain
3. Headache that has a particular pattern or severity
4. Disturbed sleep
5. Sore throat
6. Fatigue and weakness
7. Enlarged lymph nodes, particularly in the armpits and the neck
8. Pain that moves from one joint to another
9. Extreme exhaustion
10. Flu-like illness
11. Dry eyes and mouth
12. Painful menses
13. Irritable bowel syndrome
14. Intolerance to alcohol
15. Impaired circulation, particularly in the hands and the feet
16. Visual disturbances
Most of these signs and symptoms may get worse after physical activity or mental exertion in patients affected by CFS. In most cases, chronic fatigue tends to lower the body’s ability to function normally.
[ Read: How To Improve Concentration In Kids]
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes:
Over the years, scientists have been trying to understand the biological causes of CFS. No preventive measure or cure has been discovered as such, mostly because there are many possible causes of this condition. A conjunction of over 4000 research articles has revealed the following possible causes of CFS.
- Digestive problems
- Viral infections
- Blood pressure and cardiovascular problems
- Biochemical abnormalities
- Defects in the body’s ability to produce and transport energy
- Impaired hormonal and neurological function
Scientists also believe that a combination of factors could be responsible for this disorder. It is thought that people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after being affected by a viral infection. Such as infections arising due to viruses like human herpesvirus 6, Epstein-Barr and mouse leukaemia virus. However, any conclusive link is yet to be found. Also, it has been found that those having abnormalities of the immune system are more likely to be affected by chronic fatigue syndrome.
Lastly, hormonal imbalances are also thought to be a cause of the condition, particularly when there are issues in the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands or the hypothalamus.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment Options:
It is estimated that CFS affects over a million in the US alone, which is quite concerning. The treatment of this condition usually includes prescription drugs and OTC medications for particular symptoms, and sometimes, alternative therapies.
Antidepressants, antivirals, allergy medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are more commonly prescribed to patients affected by CFS. Along with immune system boosters at times. Studies have found that an antiviral drug called Ampligen could be helpful in providing more oxygen to the body affected by CFS, which can in turn, improve energy levels.
2. Medical Practitioners:
Some medical practitioners also recommend other treatment options in conjunction with drugs, such as lifestyle changes. Dietary changes and intake of nutritional supplements can provide the body its required nutrients, thereby tackling any nutritional deficiencies that may have been contributing to fatigue and lower energy levels.
3. Yoga and Exercise:
Yoga and exercise is also thought to benefit people affected by CFS. It helps in increasing the supply of oxygen into the body, which keeps it functioning better. Also these reduce stress, which is a major factor contributing to fatigue.
4. Homeopathic Remedies:
Homeopathic remedies, acupuncture and support groups are also thought to be helpful in some cases. Especially in case of conditions that tend to get worse due to stress.
Who Are At More Risk To Get CFS?
One thing you should remember is that the mode of treatment for this condition varies from person to person, and depends on the cause of the disease. Still, some people are more susceptible to this condition, as follows:
Overweight and inactive individuals are at a higher risk of being affected by CFS.
Individuals working on high-stress jobs and those who tend to get stressed throughout the day are more likely to be affected by CFS. To some extent, body conditions like blood pressure and diabetes that have control over a person’s behavior can also ultimately lead to CFS.
It has also been found that CFS is more common among women; however, it is also speculated that this may be because women tend to report these symptoms to the doctor more often than men do.
While CFS may strike at any age, it is most commonly known to affect people in their 40s and 50s. If you belong to this demographic, do not brush off the symptoms and seek medical consultation as soon as possible. But, A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also has been determined to occur in Teens and children.
[ Read: How to Manage Stress in Kids ]
Points To Remember:
If you or a loved one has CFS, there are certain factors to be kept in mind.
- Almost 25% people affected by this condition have a milder form, and are able to go to school or work and carry out their day-to-day activities without any major concerns.
- Around 50% people tend to have moderate chronic fatigue syndrome, and may experience difficulty in handling day to day tasks.
- While the remaining 25% are usually bedridden, and may suffer relapses for the rest of their life.
Since CFS is a complex condition, it needs proper evaluation from a medical practitioner. What’s more, CFS may also develop slowly after a period of few years, which may make the diagnosis at early stages difficult. If you feel related to some of the signs and symptoms, you may have to seek medical advice as soon as possible.
Let us know about your experiences dealing with CFS.
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