CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
As the name suggests, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, commonly abbreviated as CFS, causes individuals to feel constantly exhausted. CFS makes day to day life very difficult because even the simplest tasks such as eating and getting dressed in the morning, become monumental chores. Regular sleep and resting does not alleviate the fatigue. Some patients report that exercise and deep contemplation can even worsen the fatigue.
The onset of CFS may be quite sudden for some individuals, while others report that the symptoms develop over a period of months, worsening as more time goes on. People with CFS may also experience difficulty with concentration, insomnia, or pain in the muscles. Individuals may experience fatigue one day and feel fine the next. In other cases, it may be non stop exhaustion. Other symptoms of CFS may include a sore throat, a pattern of severe headaches, memory loss, and experiencing feelings akin to depression.
CFS is difficult to diagnose because persistent exhaustion is a symptom of various illnesses and treatments such as chemotherapy and a drastic dietary change. There is no laboratory test for CFS, but if you suspect that you are suffering from CFS, you should still consult your physician.
Your doctor will most likely ask you questions to assess your mental health. Your doctor may also perform a routine physical exam. Your doctor may use blood tests and urine tests to see if you may be suffering from a different illness that is causing symptoms similar to CFS. You may need a number of tests to rule out many possibilities for your condition.
Patients must experience extreme exhaustion for approximately half a year for CFS to be diagnosed by a doctor. It may take years to properly diagnose CFS. The process can be very trying and requires a lot of patience. Proper diagnosis of CFS requires that absolutely no other cause be evident for your symptoms.
The cause of CFS has yet to be determined. Some patients report that symptoms began after a stomach bug, a case of the cold, or some other infectious disease such as infectious mononucleosis, also known as the kissing disease. Others with CFS report that the onset followed a trauma such as a severe surgery or the death of a relative.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. However, there are certain things that can help people with CFS feel better and cope with the condition. Avoid certain activities that seem to trigger bouts of exhaustion. To determine trigger activities, keep a journal of your activities and your response to them. It may benefit you to work with an occupational therapist who can suggest ways to conserve your energy during the day. Consult your doctor for recommendations of occupational therapists near you.
Developing a routine exercise habit can help you alleviate muscle pain and aches throughout your body. Work with your doctor to develop an appropriate exercise plan to follow regularly. It is important to not over exercise as this could just aggravate your CFS.
Over the counter medications such as Aleve and Advil have been known to help with aches and muscle pain for CFS patients. Some CFS patients report that antihistamines that are designed to be non drowsy have helped with symptoms such as itchy eyes and runny nose. For symptoms akin to depression, antidepressants can help patients sleep better and relieve some pain.
Alternative medicine such as yoga, chiropractic services, and acupuncture have helped some patients cope with their Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Other options include massage treatments and self-hypnosis. There are some alternative medicines that claim to be a cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but be sure to consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements or herbal remedies as they could be detrimental to your health.
Some doctors may need to do research to learn more about CFS when one of their patients encounters symptoms. If you worry that your doctor is not informed enough about CFS, it is perfectly reasonable to seek a second opinion or ask your current doctor to recommend a specialist. If you are having trouble finding more information, contact universities near you and see if their medical school has anyone who could help you.