Holistic Health Merced © 2015
Most Common Symptoms;
-problems with sleep
-difficulties with memory
-Difficulties with concentration
-persistent muscle pain
-tender lymph nodes in the neck
(CFS) Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Symptoms affect several body systems and may include weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, and insomnia, which can result in reduced participation in daily activities. More recently, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) proposed that the condition be renamed “systemic exertion intolerance disease” (SEID) to better reflect the condition's hallmark defining symptom, postexertional malaise.
Various unrelated infectious diseases (eg, pneumonia, Epstein-Barr virus [EBV] infection, diarrhea, upper respiratory tract infections) appear to lead to a state of prolonged fatigue in some persons. Generally, if this condition is accompanied by cognitive difficulties, it is referred to as CFS. The cause of CFS is unknown, but the disorder is probably an infectious disease with immunologic manifestations. EBV has been excluded as a cause of CFS, even though EBV infection is one of the many causes that may lead to a state of chronic fatigue. CFS is not synonymous with chronic EBV infection or chronic infectious mononucleosis.
Because no direct tests aid in the diagnosis of CFS, the diagnosis is one of exclusion but that meets certain clinical criteria, which are further supported by certain nonspecific tests. The diagnosis of CFS also rests on historical criteria (ie, otherwise unexplained fatigue for more than 6 months accompanied by cognitive dysfunction). The absence of cognitive dysfunction should exclude CFS as a potential diagnosis.
Because no cause of CFS has been determined, no effective therapy exists for CFS. Chronic fatigue symptoms differ between patients, but severe fatigue or chronic tiredness that interferes with work or daily activities is common. Patients may also complain of pain and achiness and a kind of brain fog that makes it hard to concentrate or remember recent events or details.
If you've been exhausted for months, can't carry out your daily activities, and nothing you have tried makes you feel better, it's time to see a doctor. Studies suggest that close to 80 percent of people who are living with chronic fatigue syndrome have never been formally diagnosed and are not getting the treatment they need, but data also implies that getting a diagnosis early in the course of the disease — before you've had it for two years — gives you the best chance of improving your symptoms through treatment.
Stress as a Cause of Chronic Fatigue; Stress and fatigue go hand in hand. Intuitively, we know stress is draining, but data suggest that people with chronic fatigue syndrome respond to stress differently than those who do not have CFS. For example, people with CFS often have lower amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva, which may mean that their bodies are not effectively fighting the effects of stress. But cortisol is only a small part of the neural and hormonal chemical flow involved in the body’s response to stress, which may be different for people who have CFS. This chemical response comes under the umbrella of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA), which refers to glands in the brain and other parts of the body that play a role in stress response. The role of genetics in the HPA is being studied as a possible key to unlocking the CFS mystery.
Immune Dysfunction as a Cause of Chronic Fatigue; Researchers have theorized that chronic fatigue syndrome may be the result of an abnormal immune response. This is partly because people with CFS have higher levels of cytokines — chemicals that the body produces as part of an immune response than their people who don't have chronic fatigue. Some studies have shown that giving someone higher than normal levels of cytokines can cause fatigue. A recent analysis of changes at the genetic level in patients with CFS supports the idea that altered immune response plays a role in the disease. However, people with CFS do not appear to be more susceptible to other kinds of infections than people who don't have CFS.
Nutrition and Chronic Fatigue; According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it's unlikely that a nutritional deficiency is the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. However, many people with CFS have strong reactions to certain additives in foods and could benefit from removing those foods from their diets. Longtime CFS patient Vivian Treves, 59, of East Hampton, N.Y., says that by working with a qualified nutritionist, she improved her chronic fatigue symptoms. “When I changed my diet to mostly protein and vegetables, cutting out all carbs and sugars, I went to a complete other level of my life,” she says.