Chronic Fatigue Syndrome- Allergy/Immunology, Alternative Medicine, Dietetics/ Nutrition, General Medicine/ Check Up, Pulmonary And Respiratory Medicine, Sleep Studies
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Also called: Myalgic encephalomyelitis or Systemic exertion intolerance disease
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a serious disorder with no known cause. It causes extreme tiredness that can impair a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Rest does not improve the condition and any sort of physical or mental activity can make the symptoms worse.
People aged between 40 and 60 years are more likely to have this disorder. Likewise, it is more common in women compared to men.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
As the name suggests, permanent fatigue is the typical symptom of CFS. The diagnosis can be confirmed if extreme fatigue lasts six months or longer, and at least three of the following symptoms are present.
- Post-exertional malaise (PEM). The symptoms get worse after physical or mental activity.
- Sleep problems such as the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Tiredness persists even after a night’s sleep.
- Loss of memory and inability to think clearly, which is called a “brain fog”.
- Orthostatic intolerance in which a person may feel dizzy while standing or sitting with the back straight.
Diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
No specific laboratory or any other tests are currently available. Thus, diagnosis relies on the assessment of symptoms and a thorough review of the patient’s medical history.
Even so, the doctor may order blood, urine, and other tests to rule out the possible causes of prolonged tiredness. Besides, they examine the patient’s physical and mental status by asking certain questions.
During the diagnosis, the doctor usually asks questions about the nature of fatigue and its relationship with rest, its time of onset, duration, and triggers.
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Currently available treatments provide some degree of relief from the symptoms only. These can include:
- Limiting physical and mental activity.
- Practicing good sleep hygiene. In some cases, sleep medications may be necessary.
- Over-the-counter pain medications for headaches and muscle pain.
- Prescription medications to treat depression and anxiety.
- Complementary therapies such as meditation or relaxation therapy.
To learn more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, please check our blog on CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (MYALGIC ENCEPHALOPATHY): AN UNDERDIAGNOSED EPIDEMIC.