Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition in which the individual experiences a constant fatigue. This affects the individual’s everyday life and the condition does not relent regardless of how much the person sleeps or rests.
CFS is also known by another name, ME. This stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis, and myalgia is associated with muscle pain while encephalomyelitis results in an inflammation of the spinal cord and the brain. CFS is regarded as a serious condition as it can cause long-term illness and in some cases disability.
However, in most cases this condition will improve over time and this is especially true of children and younger people.
Symptoms of CFS
Although this condition can develop in both men and women of any age, it is more common in women and generally becomes apparent when the individual is aged between twenty and forty. Young people who develop the condition tend to be between thirteen and fifteen years of age.
The majority of people who experience the condition will find their symptoms to be very mild in effect, but one in four will find their symptoms to be severe and in this case the condition can prove to be dangerous for them and anyone in their immediate vicinity. People with mild CFS are able to lead relatively normal lives but will need occasional days off work for rest.
Those with moderate CFS often have reduced mobility and irregular sleep patterns, such as needing to sleep in the afternoon or for periods of time in the evening. People with moderate CFS have difficulty engaging in regular daily life as the condition can interfere with things like maintaining a job.
Although it is not always the case, some people with moderate with CFS will require some form of help. People with severe CFS are able to somewhat live normal lives, but their mobility and independence is greatly reduced.
People with severe CFS will need to sleep at irregular times and will constantly feel tired, regardless of the amount of sleep they have. Individuals with severe cases of the condition often report of having great difficulty concentrating on tasks at hand, and there may be a problem with short-term memory.
What Causes CFS?
Nobody is exactly sure why CFS occurs, but a number of theories have been put forward to try and explain why this condition develops. Some people suggest that it is the result of a viral inflection that affects the brains and induces the feeling of constant fatigue. Other people believe that CFS stems from problems with the immune system, and that the body becomes tired from having to continually protect itself from outside bacteria.
A hormonal imbalance has also been suggested, which makes sense when you consider the effects a lack or abundance of hormones can cause in the human body and brain. It has also been suggested that CFS might be the result of stress, emotional trauma and other forms of psychiatric problems. However, there is no proven cause of CFS, and unfortunately for the time being all suggestions are purely speculative.
People who suffer form CFS are often advised to keep a diary detailing not only their dealings with the condition, but also any other experiences them might encounter, as this might reveal additional information about the condition under examination. CFS may be gene related, as it commonly occurs in families.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As there is no direct or defined cause of CFS, diagnosis of the condition generally takes a few months to complete. Doctors have special criteria of symptoms that must be met for the individual to be diagnosed with CFS, and observation will occur over several months. During this period the Doctors will try to rule out other conditions that have overlapping symptoms with CFS.
There is currently no cure for CFS, and treatment is instead employed with the aim of reducing or countering the symptoms people with the condition experience. People respond differently to different treatments, so several avenues may have to be exhausted before the individual finds the treatment most suited to them. One of the most successful treatments used in CFS cases is a structured exercise program that helps set the individual specific times for exercising, eating and sleeping.
Creating a routine for the body is an excellent way to reduce the risk of feeling constantly tired. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be used to examine and deal with any psychological problems that are affecting the individual, helping to reduce emotional trauma and stress. Doctors may also prescribe a course of medicine aimed at controlling sleeping patterns, or the pain or nausea that is sometimes experienced by people who suffer from the condition.
As stated previously, treatment varies greatly from person to person and ample time must be spent examining the individual’s symptoms and how they react to different forms of treatment. Although not generally pursed by members of the professional medical world, complementary therapies such as relaxation therapy and herbal medicines can have a positive affect on the individual and can help them to regulate their sleeping patterns.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms, individuals who suffer from CFS are advised to engage in as many forms of treatment as possible.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that affects the mobility and energy of a person. This condition can be extremely frustrating to live with as it greatly reduces the capabilities of an individual and can force them to rely on others to complete daily tasks. The severity of CFS varies from person to person, as do the symptoms.
As a result, diagnosis can take several months to complete, and a number of treatments may be engaged in before a suitable treatment is found. People who believe they may suffer from CFS are advised to see their local Doctor as soon as possible.