Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – What Should You Know?

By: Adrian Cruce

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (commonly referred to as CFS) is actually a group of medical conditions that are debilitating and are characterized by a persistent fatigue, together with other symptoms. In most situations the condition is seen as something that a patient may suffer from when the symptoms last for over 6 months for adults and 3 months for adolescents or children.

Keep in mind that the fatigue that is present is never significantly relieved when resting and there are no other medical conditions that cause it. In most cases chronic fatigue syndrome appears out of the blue, normally but not always associated with symptoms similar to those of flu. At the same time, severe adverse stress has been linked to the condition in most patients.

By Shanghai killer whale (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

CFS Symptoms

Whenever a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome is offered, there are strict criteria that need to be fulfilled:

  1. The fatigue has to cause a reduction of the previous activity level.
  2. The onset of severe fatigue needs to happen for over 6 consecutive months and should not be related to exertion while also not being relieved when resting.
  3. A minimum of 4 of the symptoms below should have the duration mentioned above:
  • Unrefreshing sleep

  • Multiple joints pain

  • Muscle pain

  • Impaired concentration or memory

  • Post exertional malaise

  • Sore throat – recurring or frequent

  • Headaches

  • Lymph nodes are tender

There are also other really common symptoms that can appear including:

  • Dizziness

  • Fainting

  • Balancing problems

  • Brain fog

  • Irritable bowel syndrome

  • Allergies

  • Depression

  • Mood problems

  • Night sweats

  • Chills

  • Visual disturbances

According to the indications of the CDC, you need to talk to a physician as soon as many of the symptoms above appear and you think that you may be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. The reason for this is that there are many different treatable illnesses that have similar symptoms like: Lyme disease, diabetes, sleep disorders, mononucleosis, multiple sclerosis and lupus. Also, we have different medications that can cause various side effects similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome.

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The Problem With CFS

The big problem with CFS is that it will vary greatly when referring to how patients are affected. Some people actually lead a close to normal life while others are completely bed-ridden. However, most people with chronic fatigue syndrome will have problems with family, school and work activities. There are no differences between sexes and the doctor is the only person that can choose a suitable treatment option.

Cognitive Functions

The cognitive symptoms will mainly form deficits in reaction time, memory and attention. Deficits range from 0.5 to 1.0 under what is expected to affect the day to day activity of the patient. Complex and simple information processing functions and speed will have the memory impaired.

Go To The Doctor As Soon As Possible!

Whenever you see that you are faced with a lot of fatigue and the symptoms above are noticed for long periods of time, it is vital that you visit a doctor as soon as you can. This is definitely the most important thing at the end of the day. Never dismiss the symptoms and try to find some way to sleep. Taking sleeping pills can lead to even more problems you do not want to be faced with.