Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Truth Behind the Symptoms
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition where you feel exhausted and have no energy most days. It’s different from general fatigue and has various other symptoms, including feeling flu-like or having muscle pain. CFS is different for everyone and can be difficult to diagnose. There are many theories about the causes of CFS, but there’s not enough research to know for sure. Most doctors agree that it’s not a mental illness as it’s not just in your head.
It is estimated that between 200,000 and 2 million Americans have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). It usually begins as an outbreak of flu-like symptoms that do not go away, even after resting for extended periods of time. There are many potential triggers but the exact cause of this disease remains unclear. If you think you may have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, read on to learn more about the signs and treatment options available to you.
Keep in mind
- People with this condition can easily be misunderstood, as the name of the illness can be misleading. The name may lead people to think that it is only fatigue, and not other symptoms, that is the problem.
- People with this condition often don’t look sick and can function at a very high level, yet they are so tired that they are often disabled.
- The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome can wax and wane over time. They can come and go and then come back again with different symptoms.
- The person with this illness often feels that he or she is being ignored. People who don’t understand the illness may talk about this person as if he or she is faking the illness or imagining it.
- People with chronic fatigue syndrome may feel frustrated, depressed, and isolated.
- People with this illness may often think that they are going crazy, as the symptoms vary so much and are hard to explain
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder associated with persistent fatigue that is not relieved by rest. Despite many years of research, the causes of CFS remain elusive and the condition has been difficult to diagnose. CFS has been referred to as “mysterious” and a “medical thriller”. perhaps because of the many unexplained symptoms and the lack of a known cause. CFS can persist for months or years and can be debilitating for some.
CFS can occur at any age and affects both men and women. Individuals with CFS can have a wide range of symptoms including muscle pain, joint pain, headaches, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive problems (problems with thinking, reasoning and remembering), tender lymph nodes, and mood disturbances such as depression.
- Infection: Viruses, bacteria, or parasites can all cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Some examples of infectious triggers include cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6, and human immunodeficiency virus.
- Stress: Chronic stress can cause the body to produce too many chemicals that can make a person feel exhausted. Examples of chronic stress triggers include job loss or a divorce.
- Medical conditions: Chronic fatigue syndrome can be caused by a number of health conditions. Some examples of conditions that can cause chronic fatigue syndrome include lupus, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause, and puberty can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Medications: A variety of medications, including chemotherapy, steroids, and hormones, can cause chronic fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The most common symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is feeling extremely tired or exhausted. This fatigue can last at least six months and often lasts longer.
2. Sleep Problems
Problems falling asleep, waking up too early, or feeling unrefreshed after sleep can be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.
3. Cognitive Issues
Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause problems with concentration and short-term memory, as well as word finding.
4. Joint or Muscle Pain
Joint pain, muscle pain, muscle weakness, or muscle tenderness can be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause headaches, as well as pain in the neck or upper back.
6. Gastrointestinal Issues
Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, constipation, diarrhea, or indigestion can be signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.
7. Mood Changes
Chronic fatigue syndrome can cause mood changes such as feeling depressed or anxious.
8. Skin Rashes
Skin rashes can be a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome.
9. Other Symptoms
Some people with chronic fatigue syndrome may also experience dizziness, shortness of breath, or decreased blood pressure.
Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is no single test to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome. Instead, health care providers will consider the person’s symptoms, past health, and family history when making a diagnosis.
- History: In order to make a diagnosis, a doctor will first talk with the person about their symptoms and medical history. They may ask about any past health problems and family history of diseases. They will also ask how long the person has been feeling tired and how severe the symptoms are.
- Physical exam: During a physical exam, the doctor can check for signs of other health problems that may be causing the symptoms. They can also test the person’s reflexes, check the blood pressure, and listen to the heart and lungs.
- Blood tests: Blood tests can be used to check for infections, certain cancers, and other health conditions that may be causing chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Other tests: Depending on the results, the doctor may order a wide range of tests. These tests may include a urine test, blood test, imaging test, or lumbar puncture.
Conclusion: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Test
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder that can be difficult to diagnose and can affect people differently. There are many potential triggers, and people with this condition can have a wide range of symptoms. There are many treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome, but there is no single cure.
Treatment focuses on reducing symptoms, improving quality of life, and maintaining function. It can take time to find the right treatment plan, but most people with CFS can find treatments that help them cope with symptoms and lead active, fulfilling lives.