Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder that causes sufferers to experience extreme tiredness which interferes with daily activities.
Womenshealth.gov, a website maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, says the disorder may affect up to one million Americans, although less than one quarter of such cases have been diagnosed. Although CFS is prevalent among women, it can strike people from all age groups and walks of life.
Scientists have yet to determine the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, but they are making progress in this area (read my article "Scientists Identify Possible Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Biomarker"). The Department of Health and Human Service's Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Fact Sheet reports that it's difficult to determine if a person has the disorder because one of its primary symptoms - extreme tiredness - is common to many illnesses. However, government health experts say these symptoms are often associated with CFS:
- tiredness that lasts 24 hours after engaging in physical or mental exercise
- forgetfulness or difficulty focusing on tasks
- continuing to feel tired even after sleeping
- muscle aches and pains
- achy or painful joints without redness or swelling
- headaches of a new type, pattern or strength
- sore throat
- tenderness of lymph nodes in the neck or underarm
- chills and night sweats
- blurry vision
- irritable bowel
- allergies and sensitivities to food, odors, chemicals, medications, and noise/sound
- difficulty sitting, standing up, maintaining balance
What Does This Mean To You?
Currently, there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome (also referred to as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome or myalgic encephalomyelitis), but there are ways to manage its symptoms. Experts caution against using dietary supplements, herbal remedies because they could be harmful. Government health officials instead offer these chronic fatigue syndrome treatment suggestions which include:
- keeping a journal of your daily activities, making note of activities that tend to make you tired and when they occur
- cutting back on activities that tire you out and to differentiate between activities that are important and those which you don't need to do as often
- using yoga, massage, stretching, chiropractic care and acupuncture
- joining a CFS support group
- using talk therapy to cope with your feelings
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also suggests that you talk with your doctor about your symptoms and ways to deal with your lack of energy. CFS may be painful, but it doesn't have to control you.
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Womenshealth.gov Chronic fatigue syndrome fact sheet. http://1.usa.gov/ovsEGU
"What You Need To Know About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms" copyright 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy. All Rights Reserved.