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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
What are some of the conditions associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
What are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosed?
What treatments are available for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?Back To Top
Chronic Fatigue is becoming a more common complaint heard throughout the world. It can be a symptom of an un-diagnosed disease or a general problem that can interfere with your health and well-being. Some people get so fatigued that they essentially become disabled, they can have adverse reactions to their medical treatments and/or depression can set in due to the effects of the symptoms and lack of any clear diagnosis. It is also known or diagnosed as C.F.S., Fatigue-chronic, Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), Tiredness, Weariness, Exhaustion, Lethargy, or Yuppie flu. A loose definition is that it's a condition of prolonged and severe tiredness or weariness (fatigue) that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes C.F.S. as a distinct disorder with specific symptoms and physical signs, based in the exclusion of other possible causes.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?Back To Top
The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) is unknown. Some researchers suspect it may be cause by a virus, such as human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6). However, no distinct viral cause has been identified. Recent studies have shown that chronic fatigue syndrome MAY be caused by inflammation of the pathways in the nervous system and that this inflammation MAY be some sort of immune response or auto-immune process. C.F.S. may occur when a viral illness is complicated by an inadequate or dysfunctional immune response. In many cases, the fatigue is enhanced by boredom, unhappiness, disappointment, lack of sleep, or hard work. Other factors such as age, prior illness, stress, environment, or genetic disposition may also play a role. C.F.S. most commonly occurs in women aged 30 to 50.
What are some of the conditions associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?Back To Top
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may/can be associated with the following conditions:
  • Acromegaly
  • AIDS
  • Chronic allergic-type disorders such as hay fever or asthma
  • Anemia including iron deficiency anemia
  • Chronic boredom
  • Chronic infection such as a chronic bacterial endocarditis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Diabetes
  • Drugs such as antihistamines, antihypertensives, sedatives, or diuretics, etc.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Malignancy (cancer)
  • Excessive physical exertion
  • Poor nutrition
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Tuberculosis
  • Viral infections such as influenza and mononucleosis
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Grief
  • Sleep disorders such as insomnia
  • Stress (prolonged and severe)
  • Infectious disease
What are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?Back To Top
Symptoms of C.F.S. are similar to those of most common viral infections (muscle aches, headache, and fatigue), often developing within a few hours or days and lasting for 6 months or more.

Main symptoms:
  • Fatigue or tiredness, never experienced to this extent before (new onset), lasting at least 6 months and not relieved by bed rest
  • Fatigue that is severe enough to restrict activity (serious fatigue develops with less than one-half of the exertion compared to before the illness)
Other symptoms:
  • Fatigue lasting more than 24 hours that develops after an amount of exercise that would normally be easily tolerated
  • Mild fever (low-grade: 101 degrees F or less)
  • Sore throat
  • Lymph node tenderness in the neck or armpit (axilla)
  • Muscle weakness, all over multiple locations, not explained by an known disorder
  • Muscle aches (Myalgias)
  • Sleep disturbances: sleeping too much (hypersomnia) or difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep (insomnia)
  • Headaches, different from previous headaches in quality, severity, or pattern.
  • Joint pain, often moving from joint to joint (migratory arthralgais), without joint swelling or redness
  • Unusual nervous system symptoms, such as:
    Increased sensitivity of eyes to light (photophobia)
    Thinking seems 'fuzzy' or 'foggy'
    Difficulty concentrating
How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosed?Back To Top
A diagnosis of C.F.S. should include:
  • Extreme, prolonged fatigue
  • Absences of other causes of chronic fatigue
  • At least 6 of the other symptoms listed plus two confirming physical examination findings or at least 8 of the other symptoms listed.
There are no specific tests to confirm the diagnosis of C.F.S., a variety of tests are usually done to exclude other possible causes of the symptoms.
What treatments are available for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?Back To Top
There is currently no traditional treatment that has been proven to be effective in curing C.F.S. Instead, the only the symptoms are treated.

Some of the usual proposed treatments included:
  • Antiviral drugs (such as acyclovir)
  • Drugs to fight 'hidden' yeast infections (such as nystatin)
  • Medications to treat depression (antidepressant drugs)
  • Medications to reduce pain, discomfort, and fever
Some medications can cause adverse reactions or side effects that are worse than the original symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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