Technology Is A Lifesaver
Its hard to maintain friendships in person, so technology is a must. Social media makes it so much easier to connect with our loved ones, even when were having a rough day. We can even meet new pals who understand what living with fatigue is like! These days, you can even get medical appointments online .
Kirsten Schultz is a writer from Wisconsin who challenges sexual and gender norms. Through her work as a chronic illness and disability activist, she has a reputation for tearing down barriers while mindfully causing constructive trouble. Kirsten recently founded Chronic Sex, which openly discusses how illness and disability affect our relationships with ourselves and others, including you guessed it sex! You can learn more about Kirsten and Chronic Sex at chronicsex.org.
Management Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
Rest and sleep in CFSRest periods in the daily routine are part of management strategies for all people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Relaxation techniques at the beginning of each rest period can be helpful. Try to balance the need for rest during the day against how you are sleeping at night. Introduce changes to your sleep pattern gradually.
Physical functioning and mobility problems in CFSStrategies to help maintain and prevent deterioration of your physical function and mobility need to be carried out in small amounts and spread out throughout the day. Strategies should include joint mobility, muscle flexibility, balance, postural and positional support, muscle function, bone health and cardiovascular health.
Care and support plans in relation to physical functioning and mobility may include bed mobility, moving from lying to sitting to standing, transferring from bed to chair, using mobility aids, walking, joint mobility, muscle stretching, muscle strength, balance, and going up and down stairs.
People with CFS may experience intolerance of changing position, such as when first standing up. This may include postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome . You may need to be refered to a specialist if your symptoms are severe or worsening, or there are concerns that another condition may be the cause.
Pain in CFSChronic pain is commonly associated with CFS. You may need referral to specialist pain services if appropriate.
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Fatigue And Insufficient Exercise
Being a couch potato can actually be the root cause of your tiredness and low energy. Sitting down for long periods of time can sap your energy, even if youre watching TV, or on your computer.
Medical research has shown that exercising gives you more energy and reduces fatigue. It helps to start off gradually, so that youre more likely to stick to an exercise routine. In fact, studies have shown that even minimal increases in physical activity, particularly for someone who has been mostly sedentary, can significantly reduce your fatigue.
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How Can I Help My Child
To help your child cope with the emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome:
- Encourage your child to keep a daily diary to identify times when he or she has the most energy and help plan activities for these times.
- Have your doctor plan an exercise program to maintain strength at whatever level is possible. This can help your child feel better physically and emotionally.
- Help your child to recognize and express feelings, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. It’s OK to grieve the loss of energy.
- Get support from family and friends because emotional health is important when coping with a chronic health problem.
- Allow more time for your child to do things, especially activities that take concentration or physical exertion.
Things No One Tells You About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Imagine feeling too exhausted to get out of bed, let alone go to work or spend time with your family. Now combine that kind of physical exhaustion with severe stomach pain, aching joints, and brain fog that makes it impossible to read a book or sustain a thought. Finally, imagine telling a doctor how you feel, and having him roll his eyes.
This is reality for many of those who suffer from the disease most know as “chronic fatigue syndrome.” There’s often little help or support available to them from the medical community or from friends and family.
“When you tell people how you feel, they say, ‘Well, I’m tired, too,'” says Carol Head, a recovered CFS sufferer and president of the Solve ME/CFS Initiativea charitable organization that funds medical research in pursuit of a cure for chronic fatigue.
Part of the problem, Head says, is that non-sufferers hear “fatigue” and think they understand what a CFS sufferer is going through. But they really don’t. “People who have endured both chemotherapy and ME/CFS say ME/CFS is even more debilitating, so ‘fatigue’ is not a good word for it,” she says.
The “ME” in ME/CFS stands for myalgic encephalomyelitisan alternate name Head and other sufferers prefer to chronic fatigue syndrome. “CFS is such a lightweight name,” she says. “The term ‘myalgic encephalomyelitis’ has actually been around longer, and it has the advantage of sounding like the serious, real disease that this is.”
It’s often debilitating.
It goes beyond chronic fatigue.
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How Is Me/cfs Treated
Right now, there is no cure or FDA-approved treatments for ME/CFS. But, there are things you and your doctor can do to help ease your symptoms. Because the symptoms of ME/CFS vary from person to person, the management plan you discuss with your doctor may look very different from the plan of another person with ME/CFS.
Im Fatigued Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Probably not! Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms people visit doctors for. Most do not have chronic fatigue syndrome. Everyday fatigue can be caused by many factors including:
Fatigue is common. Just because youre experiencing it doesnt mean that you have ME/CFS.
- Poor Sleep: Even a hour less sleep a night than you usually get or fitful sleep can result in fatigue.
- Stress: Stress that keeps you from being able to relax can over time result in fatigue.
- Inactivity: Inactivity can have profoundly negative effects on the body. Inactivity caused fatigue can be remedied with short and regular periods of exercise . Exercise has been shown to decrease stress, improve mood and energy.
- Too much exercise overtraining causes symptoms similar to ME/CFS
- Poor Diet: A diet larded with sugar, carbohydrates and fat can cause substantial fatigue.
- Medications: Many medications, including anti-histamines, beta-blockers, opioids and others can cause fatigue.
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How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed
CFS diagnosis depends on two criteria:
A specific treatment for CFS has yet to be proven effective. Vitamin supplements and medicines have some benefit. Many treatments just relieve the symptoms of CFS.
How Can My Doctor Manage Fatigue
To find out what is causing your fatigue, your healthcare provider will ask questions about your lifestyle and medications and will conduct a physical examination. They might order some lab tests to test blood and urine. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, your provider will probably order a pregnancy test.
To relieve fatigue, your provider will treat the condition or disorder thatâs causing it. Depending on your health, your treatment plan may include a combination of medication, exercise, or therapy. If youâre taking a medication that makes you feel exhausted, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of stopping the medication or trying another one.
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Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome And The Americans With Disabilities Act
The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act .
Not An Easy Question To Answer
Do you feel like you’re tired all the time, to the point that you are starting to worry that something is seriously wrong? Have you begun to wonder if you could have chronic fatigue syndrome?
Verywell / Emily Roberts
It’s difficult to say whether you could have chronic fatigue syndrome. Even for a healthcare provider experienced with it, this is a tough diagnosis to make, and it takes multiple steps.
To answer the question of whether you might have this disease, first, you need to understand that there’s a difference between the symptoms of chronic fatigue and the illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS.
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What Can I Do To Cope With Me/cfs
Talking about your feelings with a friend or family member can help. Sometimes it also helps to talk with people who are going through the same thing. Consider joining an ME/CFS support group. See the “ME/CFS Organizations” section at the end of this fact sheet for a list of organizations that offer additional information on ME/CFS and can help you find ME/CFS support groups.
I Don’t Have Insurance How Can The Affordable Care Act Help Me
If you’re uninsured or have been denied coverage in the past for ME/CFS, the Health Insurance Marketplace may be able to provide you with access to affordable coverage. With health insurance plans in the Marketplace, you can no longer be refused coverage just because you have a pre-existing health condition. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program also can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a health condition. They also can’t charge women more than men. Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov.
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Who Is At Risk For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Because the cause of CFS is not known, its hard to know what might put someone at risk for getting the condition. However, certain factors are seen more often in people with CFS. These factors include:
- Gender. CFS happens up to 4 times more often in women than in men.
- Age. CFS commonly affects middle-aged people, but people of any age can get it.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The cause of CFS is not yet fully understood, but it is likely that several factors contribute to its development. There are changes in the immune system and body chemistry.
CFS is usually triggered by a viral infection, such as glandular fever or influenza, but any infection may be the trigger. It is likely that the potential for getting CFS is genetic and runs in families. Some people experience ongoing effects of COVID-19 infection, known as long COVID, which are very similar to the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Other factors that may contribute include:
- emotional or physical distress
- multiple joint pain without joint swelling or redness
- headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
- unrefreshing sleep
- tiredness that can last for more than 24 hours after physical or mental effort.
Some people also report a range of other symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, irritable bowel syndrome , bloating, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, jaw pain, night sweats, increased sensitivity to alcohol or medication, chronic cough, dizzy spells or dry eyes.
The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, or even within a day.
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How Is Cfs Diagnosed
CFS is a very challenging condition to diagnose.
According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS occurs in about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. Its estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent have yet to receive a diagnosis.
There are no medical tests to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Many people with CFS dont look sick, so doctors may not recognize that they indeed have a health condition.
In order to receive a CFS diagnosis, your doctor will rule out other potential causes and review your medical history with you.
Theyll confirm that you at least have the core symptoms previously mentioned. Theyll also ask about the duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue.
Ruling out other potential causes of your fatigue is a key part of the diagnosis process. Some conditions with symptoms that resemble those of CFS include:
- severe obesity
- sleep disorders
The side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can mimic symptoms of CFS as well.
Because of the similarities between symptoms of CFS and many other conditions, its important to not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They can work with you to get relief.
If You Think Its All About How Much You Sleep You Need To Read On
What does it mean to feel energetic?
Watching children play, adults marvel at their energy. Cant we feel energetic as well? The answer is yes, although as we age, it is normal to experience less vigor. This fatigue is not entirely due to the physical process of aging. Stress increases as we agewe may have big mortgages, car payments, increasing responsibility at work, ill parents, medical conditions, or children to raise. And we often play lessthose who are younger are often better at prioritizing socializing, trying new things and having fun, while we can become bogged down in responsibility and forget to do the things that fill us up.
Adults also tend to decrease their activities as they get olderand less activity is associated with greater fatigue. It can mean poorer physical conditioning, too, which means that less activity is needed to produce muscle strain. Fatigue is functional it can help protect us against overexertion. However, our bodies are also sensitive to too little activity. So although fatigue is often associated with not wanting to do anything, paradoxically, sometimes we need to increase activity to shake off the cobwebs.Too often we take the cues of fatigue as a sign that we must do less.
What can we do to feel less fatigued?
If you have persistent fatigue, see your doctor. There are many treatable causes, and fatigue can be a sign of something else that requires medical attention.
Gradually increase your level of physical activity.
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Uncovering The Mystery Of Cfs
Some people may be genetically predisposed to the CFS, plus viruses and stress appear to play a role. A weakened or compromised immune system and hormonal imbalances have been found in conjunction with CFS diagnoses, so they may have a part in its development too.
Because CFS has been linked to several viral infections in the past, it is thought that it could be more of an end-stage symptom than a unique condition of its own. Individuals with severe infections seem to be at greater risk for developing CFS than others. However, there are also cases of CFS reported in which no viral infection has ever been identified, so it continues to be a mystery.
What doctors and scientists have been able to identify are risk factors. Along with viral infections, there seem to be certain factors that up your chances of getting CFS.
It most commonly develops later in life between the ages of 40 and 50.
Women are more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Allergies, stress, and environmental factors also seem to increase your risk.
Its Hiding In There Somewhere
Symptoms of CFS vary for each person and according to severity. If you suspect that you have CFS, understanding all the potential symptoms is the best approach. This way you can bring them to your doctors attention and get tests to rule out other conditions.
It may take time to get an official diagnosis, but you will be on the right path and can address each symptom as it occurs.
Fatigue is obviously the most common symptom, but it must have lasted for 6 months at least before it can be considered CFS. In addition to this continued fatigue, you must also have at least four other symptoms.
The possible symptoms include:
Rest does not alleviate the fatigue
Loss of memory or poor concentration
Unrefreshed feeling each time you wake up
Frequent sore throat
Swollen or tender lymph nodes
Extreme fatigue after physical and mental activities
CFS can also affect people in cycles, meaning some of the time they feel perfectly fine. There are periods of normality followed by periods of extreme fatigue, which can be confusing and makes diagnosis difficult.
Sometimes symptoms can disappear completely , but it is possible for them to come back.
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Why Does My Body Ache And I Feel Tired All The Time
Chronic fatigue syndrome Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes you to feel exhausted and weak, no matter how much rest or sleep you get. It often causes insomnia. Because your body doesnt feel rested or replenished, CFS can also cause aches in the muscles and joints throughout your body.
Take This Quiz To See If You Might Have Cfs Or Fibromyalgia
Wonder if you have CFS or fibromyalgia? If you have had severe fatigue or widespread pain lasting over three months without an obvious cause, and if you also have insomnia, then you might have chronic fatigue syndrome and/or fibromyalgia. The checklist below can help you assess the possibility of this. If your score indicates you might, then you should consult a physician to find out for sure.
The Checklist uses two sets of criteria to evaluate your posibility of having CFS or fibromyalgia. Questions 1-5 are based on criteria established by the CDC for evaluating a persons possibility of having CFS. Questions 6-10 are based on criteria established by the ACR for evaluating a persons possibility of having fibromyalgia.
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