Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, is characterized by extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away with rest. It interferes with completion of daily activities. This mysterious disease is more likely to affect women, and usually affects people in their 40s and 50s. Scientists estimate that up to 2 in 100 children suffer from ME/CFS. ME/CFS is more common in adolescents than in younger children. Unfortunately there is no diagnostic test, and a diagnosis is a process of elimination because all other illnesses need to be ruled out. Doctors will diagnose the syndrome when you have been suffering fatigue and the associated symptoms (listed below) for longer than 6 months. While CFS is not a progressive disease, it has a cyclical nature, with periods of wellness and relapses.
Reason for CFS
CFS is not well understood. Sufferers have been reporting the phenomenon for several decades, and doctors have found that the disease often follows having a viral infection, such as Epstein-Barr and Mononucleosis. Research has also shown that there is a link between CFS and inflammation of the nerve cells of the brain, as well as problems in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain responsible for the internal body’s balance and hormone production.
Symptoms of CFS
The foremost symptom is persistent fatigue, not resolved with sleep. Other symptoms include loss of memory or concentration, enlarged lymph nodes, and sleep problems. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
- Unexplained muscle or joint pain
- Unrefreshing sleep
- Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise
Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
- Social isolation
- Lifestyle restrictions
- Increased work absences
Care & Treatment
CFS has no cure and treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and maintaining emotional health. It is recommended that you work with a health care team to create an individualized coping strategy. This can include being prescribed medications for depression, pains and aches, therapies, and general lifestyle changes. Your doctor must rule out a number of other illnesses before diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome. These may include:
- 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 legs 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.
- Heart and lung impairments. Problems with your heart or lungs can make you feel more fatigued. An exercise stress test can assess your heart and lung function.
- 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.
Preliminary studies showed encouraging results for a few remedies, including:
- Coenzyme Q10
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide(NADH)
However, many of these promising early results weren’t confirmed by follow-up studies, or the original studies were too small to be conclusive. At this time, there’s little evidence to recommend any specific natural remedy as a treatment for chronic fatigue.
Changes to Diet
Many CFS patients have found their symptoms reduced by cutting out sugar, caffeine and alcohol in their diets, and both eating healthy balance improves quality of life considerably.
Activity Management and Regular Bedtime
Some simple lifestyle changes include monitoring the amount of activities you participate in and your general pacing, as not to deplete your limited energy levels. Establishing a regular bedtime is highly recommended, and it needs to feature consistent, and healthy habits. Bedtime should be preceded by light exercise and stretching completed several hours before retiring to bed.
Graded Exercises Therapy
With the aid of a certified specialist, this therapy aims to gradually increase one’s ability to do physical activities for longer stretches of time, without tiring you out. Usually GET includes stretching and aerobic exercises, balanced with rest periods.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
This talking therapy focuses on helping you manage the disease by changing the way you think and behave. CBT looks to for positive, practical ways to improve your state of mind and is intended to help you accept your diagnosis. It also focuses on challenging negative thoughts that might exaggerate symptoms, and aims to empower you with a sense of control.
Source: Internet and other
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.