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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

- 30 March 2009, 07:03

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, makes a person feel worn out and completely exhausted.  This extreme tiredness interferes with a person’s ability to engage in normal everyday activities, such as dressing, bathing or even eating. Moving, exercising or just thinking can make CFS worse.

CFS can occur quickly or it can develop over time. A person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may have muscle pain, insomnia or trouble focusing and feel as though they’re in a mental fog.  Their tiredness might come and go, but in some cases the extreme exhaustion never leaves. The bad part is that this total exhaustion must continue for at least six months for a definitive diagnosis can be made.  The cause of CFS is unknown, but medical community thinking is leaning towards the idea that it develops after an infection of some sort, such as a cold or the stomach flu, or it can also happen after someone has had infectious mononucleosis (mono).  Others hypothesis that it occurs after a person has been under extreme stress, like major surgery or the death of a loved one.

However CFS develops, it’s difficult to diagnosis because extreme tiredness is a common symptom of a great many illnesses, plus the other signs of CFS can mimic other sicknesses. There is no definitive medical test for CFS, so that adds to the difficulty in making a diagnosis. If you believe you have CFS, then you should see your doctor and he’ll give you a full medical exam, including asking you about your physical and mental health.  Blood and urine work will be done to rule out other illnesses.  If you have been tired for more than six months and have four or more of the classic CFS symptoms, then your doctor may diagnose you with CFS.

The classic CFS symptoms include:

•Sore throat
•Muscle pains and aches
•Feeling tired, even after sleeping all night
•Forgetting things
•Difficulty focusing
•Headaches of a different kind, length or strength
•Sore lymph nodes in the neck or under the arm
•Being in pain or out of sorts for more than 24 hours after being active

Currently there is no cure for CFS and no real treatment, other than lifestyle changes that a patient can make to optimize their health, such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Over the counter pain relievers can be taken as a treatment for muscle and joint pain and making sure that you are getting enough may help to relieve symptoms.

While the exact number of CFS cases is unknown, the number of people affected by CFS-like illnesses is thought to be substantial.


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