What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

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fatigued woman

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Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Have A Cause?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder with unknown causes that can not be improved by rest and relaxation. The symptoms may increase when the patient engages in activity. There is no known cause, though many theories exist. A definitive test does not exist to diagnose this syndrome. Usually, doctors will run other tests to rule out health issues that have similar symptoms.

The symptoms of the syndrome include an inability to concentrate and, possibly loss of memory. The high level of fatigue may be accompanied by muscle pains that have no other explanation. The patient will remain exhausted after physical and mental exertion. Even after a day of rest, these activities will leave the patient feeling drained.

Other symptoms include a sore throat that is not associated with a cold. In addition, the patient may have muscular pain, even in areas that have not recently been physically challenged. They may also have other pains that travel around the body with no appearance of redness or swelling. The lymph nodes, located in the armpit and the neck, may be swollen and sensitive to movement or touch. Headaches and not feeling well rested, even after a full night of sleep, round out the symptoms of this syndrome.

Defining Exact Reasons by Scientists

Scientists have been unable to define the exact reason that some people experience chronic fatigue syndrome. However, there are three factors that may be indicated alone, or in conjunction with each other. There is some evidence that viral infections may play a part. Some patients will develop the syndrome after a viral infection. The most common of these infections include Epstein-Barr and mouse leukemia.

Immune system complications have also been considered as a factor. Patients with the syndrome often have an immune system that is impaired. Hormone imbalances have been discovered in some patients. Primarily, the hormones indicated are produced in the adrenal glands, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. How these three may cause the syndrome is still under research in the scientific community.

There are some risk factors that may increase the chance of an individual being diagnosed with the syndrome. The first is age. It is most likely to occur when the patient is in their forties or fifties. There is also some indication that women are more likely than men to develop the syndrome. However, this may be because women are more likely than men to report their condition. The third risk factor is lifestyle. Those who are overweight, inactive, and under stress are more prone to develop it than others.

feeling tired all the time

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Depression and Social Isolation can be Complications

Potential complications include depression and social isolation. Because the patient can no longer interact with others like they previously had, these symptoms may increase in severity as time passes. Their lifestyle is altered in a way that may cause them to miss work and social engagements.

During the process of diagnosis, the doctor may perform several tests. This will help them to rule out other causes for the fatigue. Sleep disorders, including insomnia and restless leg syndrome may be a cause for fatigue. Tests can indicate if this is the case. A full lab of blood work may be ordered to find out if the patient is anemic or experiencing an under-active thyroid. Working with a mental health specialist may identify schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, both of which can leave the patient excessively tired.

Chronic fatigue syndrome may take some time to be diagnosed. There are many other considerations a doctor must first explore. There are solutions available to those who are looking for a chronic fatigue syndrome treatment, but these are usually only available after all the proper tests have excluded other causes of this illness.. Someone who believes they are suffering from the syndrome needs to seek professional help.

Do know that this illness is not going un-noticed. Many research centres such as The Stanford Chronic Infectious Illness Initiative led by Dr. Jose Montoy are currently researching this disease (Read more: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Making Inroads at Top Medical School: Montoya’s ME/CFS Initiative at Stanford Grows are involved in researching in depth). Some of the topics the research is being focused on are: The Brain,  The Cardiovascular System, Lyme’s Disease and the Immune System.

Other Resources 

Article Disclaimer

All content on this blog is provided as general information on topics including but not limited to, exercise, weight loss, dieting, health, wellness and other related subjects.   The articles, and any linked materials are not provided as medical advice and they shouldn't be construed as being so. If for any reason the reader or other person has any medical concerns, he, she or they should consult with a appropriately-licensed physician or other health care provider.   Never disregard getting professional medical advice and you should never delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any materials that have been linked to.   If you think or have concerns that you might have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency contact number immediately.   Views expressed on this blog and website definitely have no relation to those of any hospital, practice, academic or other institution with which the authors are affiliated.

Author: RJ

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