Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by chronic, debilitating fatigue that lasts at least six months. The fatigue is not relieved by bed rest and is often made worse by physical or mental activity. It is accompanied by symptoms that are severe enough to impair or interfere with daily activities. People who have CFS perform at a significantly lower level compared to their activity prior to the onset of the illness.
The cause of CFS is unknown. To discover possible triggers, researchers are studying the relationship between stress, the immune system, toxins, the central nervous system, and activation of latent virus.
Central Nervous System and Organs Including Endocrine Glands
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and medications and will perform a physical exam. There are no specific diagnostic tests for CFS, but the doctor will perform several tests to rule out other conditions that can have similar symptoms.
The doctor will look for the following signs to determine if you have CFS:
Severe, chronic fatigue for at least six months that is not due to another illness or medical cause, along with:
At least four of the following symptoms according to the International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study Group Criteria:
Impairment of short-term memory or concentration
Tender lymph nodes
Joint pain without swelling or redness
Headaches of a new type, severity, or pattern
Prolonged fatigue lasting 24 hours or more after exercise
The main goal of CFS treatment is to achieve symptom relief.
Treatments for CFS include:
CFS patients should avoid overexertion and physical and emotional stress. Moderate exercise that is monitored by a doctor or physical therapist may improve symptoms. Light exercise and stretching four hours before bedtime may help with sleep.
A well-balanced diet can help prevent nutritional deficiencies and weight fluctuations. Nutritional supplements cannot make up for an inadequate diet. Avoid foods that you may be sensitive to.
CFS can be mentally and physically debilitating.
is common among people with CFS. In fact, as many as half develop depression as a consequence of CFS. Psychotherapy and supportive counseling often help CFS patients cope with the disorder. Relaxation training,
, and sleep hygiene counseling may also help.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
, activity pacing, and envelope theory can help you to learn how to moderate activity and spread it evenly throughout the day, without overexerting yourself.
Medications used to treat specific symptoms of CFS include:
Antidepressants—to help improve sleep and relieve depression
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a