How Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
There is no cure for ME/CFS. Treatment goals include managing symptoms and returning you to a higher quality of life. Some people arenât able to regain the level of health and function they had before their diagnosis.
First, your doctor works with you to determine which symptoms cause the most difficulty. Together, you will address those symptoms immediately.
Counseling is helpful for many people with ME/CFS. This type of treatment helps people better tolerate symptoms by changing thoughts and behaviors. Your doctor may prescribe medications, like antidepressants or sleep aids, if your symptoms are especially severe. These medications can relieve symptoms like unrestful sleep for some people living with ME/CFS.
Before prescribing sleep aids, however, your doctor may provide suggestions for improving sleep without drugs. For instance, he or she might suggest that you visit a sleep specialist. Other tips include:
- Develop a regular bedtime routineâgo to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Do not nap for more than 30 minutes total during the day.
- Use your bed and bedroom only for sleeping and sex. Take out all electronics.
- Avoid eating large meals before you go to bed also avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Do your exercising at least 4 hours before you go to sleep.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration zaps energy and impairs physical performance. âOur research shows that dehydration makes it harder for athletes to complete a weight lifting workout,â says Dan Judelson, PhD, assistant professor of kinesiology at California State University at Fullerton. Itâs reasonable to think that dehydration causes fatigue even for people who are just doing chores.
Dehydration has also been shown to decrease alertness and concentration.
How to know if youâre drinking enough water?âUrine should be pale yellow or straw colored,â Judelson says. âIf itâs darker than that, you need to drink water.â
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Male Disorder That Became A Female Disorder
- KILDEN – Information Centre for Gender Research in Norway
- Previously long-term fatigue was considered a male disorder caused by societal pressures. Today women comprise the majority of these patients, and they feel that their condition is their own fault. Not only has the fatigued patient changed gender. Previously doctors believed that long-term fatigue was a neurological, physical disorder, while today it is categorized primarily as psychological in nature. And while in the past, society was thought to be the cause of the disorder, today the individual is supposedly to blame.
Previously long-term fatigue was considered a male disorder caused by societal pressures. Today women comprise the majority of ME patients, and they feel that their condition is their own fault.
Throughout history some people have suffered from a lack of energy and long-term, physical fatigue. Today these symptoms are classified as myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome .
It is commonly thought that chronic fatigue has mainly psychological causes and that it affects perfectionistic women who cannot live up to their own unreasonably high standards.
This has not always been the case. Just over 100 years ago it was primarily upper class men in intellectual professions who were affected. “Neurasthenia,” as the condition was called at the time, was a physical diagnosis with high status.
No longer legitimate
What happened to cause this change?
Upper class diagnosis
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It Affects One To Five People Per 1000 In The Uk
In the UK, one to five people per thousand suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. It is an extremely common condition, with around three times as many cases in women as in men. While symptoms generally start during early adulthood, they can develop in younger children, and are three times more common among females. People with this illness often complain of being tired all the time.
Despite being so common, the condition is often difficult to diagnose. There are several different causes of chronic fatigue syndrome, including depression, hormonal changes, autoimmune diseases, and environmental triggers. Many people suffer from a combination of causes. While a doctor may be able to diagnose CFS based on symptoms, there is no cure for the disease. People with this disorder take days off work and cannot function in school or at work. They often experience memory or concentration problems and brain fog. However, CFS/ME can be a difficult disorder to treat. It affects between one and five people per thousand in the UK.
How Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
Your doctor diagnoses ME/CFS by performing a mental and physical examination. Doctors will ask about your medical history and order blood and urine tests to check for infection. In many cases, doctors refer people with suspected ME/CFS to other specialists to rule out other illnesses that could be causing symptoms.
For your doctor to diagnose ME/CFS, you must have these 3 symptoms:
- Severe fatigue lasting at least 6 months that does not improve with rest or sleep
- Difficulty sleeping
- Fatigue that gets worse after mental or physical exercise
Additionally, you must have at least 1 of the following symptoms:
- Orthostatic intolerance
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Increase Your Vitamin B Intake
According to a study published in the Journal of Royal Society of Medicine, researchers found a direct link between reduced vitamin B levels and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The study focused on B-6, riboflavin and thiamine, and researchers believe that B6 is particularly important. Vitamin B6 rich foods include wild tuna and salmon, bananas, grass-fed beef, sweet potatoes, turkey, hazelnuts, garlic and cooked spinach.
Vitamin B6 helps to prevent and relieve fatigue, and it supports a healthy immune system. As stated above, some researchers believe that certain viruses play a role in CFS, therefore increasing B6 levels can be a helpful treatment. B6 helps supports T-cell functioning, allowing them to more adeptly fight infections.
Importance of Methylation
Methylation is the term given to the process in the body where methyl compounds are used in the critical functions of the body immune function, energy production, mood, inflammation, nerve function, detoxification, and even DNA all of which are challenges in chronic fatigue syndrome patients.
Methylation helps you process toxins, make hormones, and even helps in the production of neurotransmitters such as melatonin. How well your body can methylate effects all of these important areas. Poor methylation can lead to a variety of chronic conditions including certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, digestive upset, mood and psychiatric disorders, and chronic fatigue.
Housebound Or Bedbound With Me/cfs
About 25% of people with ME/CFS are housebound or bedbound. Those who are housebound may be able to undertake minimal daily tasks for themselves, such as brushing teeth, cooking or using a computer for short periods of time, but they have to pace their activity and often use aids to help them . They are unable to leave the house, often because this requires more energy than they have available. When they do leave the house, they often need mobility aids such as a wheelchair or mobility scooter, or other assistance . Recovery from a trip out of the house can take days, or longer.
Some people are so severely unwell that they are bedbound some or all of the time. The most severely unwell may be unable to undertake even simple tasks, like eating or going to the toilet by themselves. They may require additional medical devices, such as feeding tubes, to help them get enough nutrition and fluids, and can be totally dependent on carers.
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What Else Could It Be
Many people who have ME/CFS have other conditions, too. If you get treated for those, it might also improve your chronic fatigue.
ME/CFS can look a lot like âmonoâ , Lyme disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, sleep disorders, or depression. It affects about 2.5 million Americans, but experts believe only about 20% are diagnosed.
Adjust Your Wardrobe To Prevent Summer Fatigue
Since managing the effects of the summer sun internally is more challenging for people with CFS, you must think of ways to manage temperatures from the outside. Consider your summer clothing and accessories!
If youre going someplace with limited shade, bring your own! An umbrella is priceless for those with CFS. Always have a pair of sunglasses and a cooling hat with you, and choose lighter fabrics whenever possible.
Dressing appropriately helps prevent you from overheating and losing energy, so you can enjoy more of what makes summer wonderful.
Summer fatigue is more manageable when you understand what causes it! Use these tips and tricks to beat the heat with CFS this summer.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
For many people, the symptoms of ME/CFS resemble other diseases, like influenza. Symptoms may come and go over time and may increase or decrease in severity. ME/CFS symptoms vary widely from person to person.
Many of the symptoms of ME/CFS make daily life difficult. These symptoms include:
- Severe fatigue lasting at least 6 months that does not improve with rest or sleep
- Difficulty sleeping
- Flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes , headaches, and joint pain
- Cognitive difficulties, including attention and memory problems
- Muscle aches
Less common symptoms of ME/CFS include:
- Problems with vision
- Irritable bowel, an intestinal condition causing painful bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea
- Psychological issues, including mood swings, irritability and anxiety
- Tingling or numbness in the feet, hands or face
For many people, ME/CFS symptoms get worse following physical exercise or strenuous mental exertion. In some cases, orthostatic intolerance causes dizziness, weakness, and fainting.
When Should I See A Doctor For Fatigue
If you’ve been tired for several weeks with no relief, it may be time to call your healthcare provider. He or she will ask questions about your sleep, daily activities, appetite, and exercise and will likely give you a physical exam and order lab tests.
Your treatment will be based on your history and the results of your exam and lab tests. Your doctor may prescribe medications to target underlying health problems, such as anemia or irregular thyroid activity. He or she may suggest that you eat a well-balanced diet and begin an exercise program.
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Other Commonly Observed Symptoms In Cfs
There are a number of secondary symptoms that are also associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Up to half of people with CFS may experience symptoms including abdominal pain, alcohol intolerance, bloating, chest pain, chronic cough, diarrhea, dizziness, dry eyes or mouth, earaches, irregular heartbeat, jaw pain, morning stiffness, nausea, night sweats, psychological problems , shortness of breath, skin sensations, tingling sensations, and weight loss.
Can Complementary Or Alternative Medicine Help Manage The Symptoms Of Me/cfs
Some people say that complementary or alternative medicine has helped their ME/CFS symptoms. Keep in mind that many alternative treatments, dietary supplements, and herbal remedies claim to cure ME/CFS, but some might do more harm than good. Talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies to be sure they’re safe.
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Skip Heavily Processed Foods
Heavily processed foods typically have fewer nutrients than their whole food counterparts. Its important to load up on plants like legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to support your bodys needs.
Dont know what to eat? Groppo recommends sticking with foods that are as close to how Mother Nature made it as possible. Choose popped corn instead of corn flakes or brown rice instead of pasta, for example.
Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue
According to the Institute of Medicine of National Academies in the US, ME/CFS affects 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans since 2015. For this reason, early prevention and treatment for chronic fatigue can avoid this disease. If youre experiencing some of these chronic fatigue symptoms, it may be best to visit your local hospital right away.
- Unending body, joint, and muscle pain for more than six months
- Extreme exhaustion even after short periods of exercise
- Restless leg syndrome
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Facts About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome That You Dont Know
When you hear the term chronic fatigue syndrome, you may think of laziness. The symptoms of this disorder are often characterised by an overall feeling of tiredness. However, chronic fatigue syndrome is a real disease that affects one to five people in the UK. Not only does this syndrome affect women more than men, but it is also more prevalent among people from lower socio-economic groups. In addition, some people who have the disease experience crashes after physical or mental activity. CFS is one major factor that causes sleep apnea A person who has chronic fatigue syndrome may have to rest for days before they are fully recovered.
S To Overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This fatigue cannot be explained away by an underlying medical condition. In fact, one of the diseases principle challenges is that its impossible to diagnose with laboratory tests. However, some professionals believe it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system wide inflammation of the body.
The process for diagnosis usually begins with ruling out possible underlying diseases and chronic conditions until the only choice left is chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, it decreases stamina, memory and concentration.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can result in strained relationships with friends and family, especially when it remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. Guilt, anxiety and anger are all common emotional responses for those fighting chronic fatigue.
Currently, over 1 million Americans are suffering from this debilitating illness that manifests with a lack of energy and motivation, and women are 24 times more likely than men to be diagnosed.
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Diagnostic Criteria For Me/cfs Using The National Academy Of Medicine Clinical Criteria
For a diagnosis of ME/CFS, the person must have the following three symptoms:
Diagnosis also requires at least one of the following two symptoms:
It is important to note that these are not the only symptoms of ME/CFS, just the minimum needed to meet the diagnostic criteria.
While diagnosis requires that a person has had symptoms continually for six months, early intervention with pacing and rest can help reduce symptoms, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of exacerbating the disease. Research suggests that patients who are able to pace their activity and not push themselves tend to do better in the long term. Pacing and rest can start even prior to an official diagnosis.
While there is currently no cure and no evidence-based treatments, it is important to find a doctor who is not only sympathetic to ME/CFS, but can work with you to help manage your symptoms.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Essentials Of Diagnosis And Management
- Alison C. BestedAffiliations
- Lily ChuCorrespondenceCorrespondence: Address to Lily Chu, MD, MSHS, Independent Consultant, 16 Lorton Ave, Unit 4, Burlingame, CA 94010.
- Nancy G. KlimasAffiliationsInstitute for Neuro Immune Medicine, Dr Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
- Jose G. MontoyaAffiliationsDr Jack S. Remington Laboratory for Specialty Diagnostics, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA
- Irma R. ReyAffiliationsInstitute for Neuro Immune Medicine, Dr Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Continued Research Should Lead To Better Understanding And Treatments
A great deal more is known about ME/CFS today than 35 years ago. With continued and expanded support from the NIH, CDC, and private foundations dedicated to ME/CFS, I expect a lot of progress in the coming decade. Instead of doctors saying, The tests came back normal, there is nothing wrong, they will say, Tests showed us what was wrong, and we have treatments to fix it.
And doctors will recognize the wisdom of the wise advice we all learned in medical school: Listen to your patient. The patient is telling you the diagnosis.
Caring For Someone With Me/cfs
Having a supportive community of family, friends, school, work, employers and health workers, who understand the potential seriousness of ME/CFS, can also help improve the quality of life of people living with ME/CFS.
Everyone involved in supporting someone with ME/CFS needs to understand Post Exertional Malaise, which is an abnormal, biological response to exercise or activity. This means the patient will not be able to do all of the activities they used to be able to do, and will benefit from practical and emotional support. People with ME/CFS will each have different needs and preferences, so it is important to talk with them about how best to provide support. This may include help with daily routines, family life, accessing healthcare and other personal priorities.
How Can I Feel Less Tired
Some changes to your lifestyle can make you feel less tired. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a fatigue diary to help you find patterns throughout the day when you feel more or less tired.
- Exercise regularly. Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. If you have concerns about starting an exercise program, ask your doctor if there are any activities you should avoid. Moderate exercise may improve your appetite, energy, and outlook. Some people find that exercises combining balance and breathing improve their energy.
- Try to avoid long naps late in the day. Long naps can leave you feeling groggy and may make it harder to fall asleep at night. Read A Good Nights Sleep for tips on getting better rest at night.
- Stop smoking.Smoking is linked to many diseases and disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and breathing problems, which can drain your energy.
- Ask for help if you feel swamped. Some people have so much to do that just thinking about their schedules can make them feel tired. Working with others may help a job go faster and be more fun.