While everybody has experienced the sensation of tiredness and fatigue in their lives, some people end up experiencing a fatigue that lasts for weeks, months, or even years on end without improving. This condition is called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and it is a diagnosable disorder that can have a serious, sometimes debilitating impact on people's lives. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also called myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition that can strike at any time in a person's life. It is characterized by extreme, unexplained fatigue - in other words, it causes exhaustion for no reason, and this exhaustion is generally more intense than normal tiredness. Resting or sleeping generally has no effect on this fatigue, although the fatigue can be increased by exercise or activity.
CFS can last for years, although many people with CFS may have good days, or periods of lessened fatigue, before relapsing back into their bad days. For most people, chronic fatigue syndrome is severe enough to interrupt daily chores and activities, and many people find it incredibly difficult to leave their beds at all during their bad days.
To diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome, a doctor will examine and interview a patient to discover the symptoms that they are experiencing. Aside from the obvious fatigue, there are eight main symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, and at least four must be present for a diagnosis of CFS.These are:
Unfortunately, there are no tests for chronic fatigue syndrome, so it can be difficult to diagnose. Tests can be done to rule out other conditions in order to determine if the condition is truly CFS. However, it is important to remember that although chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms are mostly invisible, the condition is real and that anybody suffering from this disorder has a real medical problem and is not simply being lazy.
Currently, the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are a mystery. While there are theories, doctors do not know definitively what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. Cases of CFS often appear after a viral infection; some of the factors that have been studied include:
The prevailing theory is that CFS can be caused by a number of factors interacting, and that the development of CFS it is dependent on the body's response to these factors.
There are alternative treatments used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. While many alternative treatments and herbal remedies that are marketed for the condition have not shown any improvement in controlled experiments, there are a few promising treatments that have been found to be beneficial:
Additionally, attending therapy, both physical therapy and psychological therapy, can have a great beneficial impact on people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
Some medications can be prescribed to patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, but these are mainly used to help manage the symptoms, both the lack of energy and the pain that comes along with it. The most common medications prescribed are:
Learn more about treatments and natural remedies for chronic fatigue syndrome.
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