What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) affects over a million Americans. This is an ailment where one feels tired all the time and lack the energy to perform normal daily tasks.
Women are more prone to CFS. Anyone of any age may contract CFS but it usually occurs in people in their forties and fifties. It’s difficult to ascertain a particular cause for this and it’s difficult to diagnose too. There could be a genetic component but this has not been proved.
All of us feel tired and sluggish, now and then. What makes CFS different is that the feeling of fatigue is overwhelming and lasts for a minimum of 6 months. Things might take a turn for the worse after physical or mental exertion. Sleeping for a full night also may not provide the relief that one expects.
Some of the other key symptoms that might occur include recurring pain, headaches, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, muscle pain, and joint pain. The joints may hurt but there may not be any sign of redness or swelling. Other symptoms could be feeling dizzy, depression, numbness, hair loss, memory problems, seizures, concentration problems and sleep disturbances.
Diagnosing CFS is not easy, the diagnosis may come after a long while of ruling out various disorders. There can’t be a one-size-fit-all approach to treating the disease too. Treatment is highly individualized as those with this ailment tend to be extremely sensitive to medication and chemicals. Therefore, doctors tend to start with small doses to measure the tolerance and effect. Initially, they treat the most troublesome symptoms that interfere with daily activities and then move on to the rest.
Lifestyle changes are also needed. People with CFS may need therapy to cope with their emotions, come up with methods to manage their activity levels, take a nutritious and balanced diet, use calendars, journals and so on.