General Exercise Tips For People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Be guided by your doctor or specialist, but general suggestions include:
- Experiment to find the type of exercise that works best for you. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, walking and light weight training.
- Keep an activity diary so you have a long-term picture of your performance levels and factors that might impact on your symptoms.
- Stop the physical activity well before you feel any symptom flare. Pacing yourself is very important.
- Remember that the amount of exercise you can do will change from one day to the next.
- Listen to your body if you dont feel up to exercising on a particular day, dont.
- Find out as much as you can about your ME/CFS. Make sure you consult with health professionals who fully understand ME/CFS as a ‘real’ biomedical condition.
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.
Find A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Healthcare Provider
The more you know about chronic fatigue syndrome , the better prepared you’ll be when trying to find a healthcare provider. It’s a difficult process, and you may need to educate a few health-care professionals along the way. Be sure you know the list of symptoms and become familiar with the various ways ME/CFS is treated.
The crux of the problem is that no medical specialty has “claimed” ME/CFS, so finding a knowledgeable healthcare provider isn’t as easy as with most illnesses. Even fibromyalgia, which is considered closely related to CFS, falls under the auspices of rheumatology. Chronic fatigue syndrome is not well understood, and many health-care providers have a hard time recognizing it. Some don’t even believe it is an actual condition.
All this means that the burden of finding someone qualified to treat you falls squarely on your shoulders. However, you have a number of resources to use in your search.
Articles On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Thereâs no simple blood test or X-ray to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome â also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis . And many of the symptoms of the illness — deep tiredness, unrelieved by rest or sleep, feeling worse after physical or mental exertion, trouble concentrating, feeling worse after standing and remaining on oneâs feet and other symptoms– are also seen in other conditions, too, making the diagnosis of ME/CFS more difficult.
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.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Gradually Figuring Out Whats Wrong
In 1983, a health professional in her 30s walked into my office and said, Ive been healthy all of my life. A year ago, I came down with some kind of virus sore throat, aching muscles, swollen lymph glands, fever. My fatigue was so bad I was in bed for nearly a week. Many of the symptoms gradually improved, but the terrible fatigue and difficulty thinking have not gotten better. Theyre so bad I cant fulfill my responsibilities at home or at work. This illness is affecting my brain, stealing my energy, and affecting my immune system. Its keeping me from realizing my dreams.
Theres a piece of advice attributed to a famous physician, William Osler, that every medical student probably has heard: Listen to your patient. The patient is telling you the diagnosis. But I wasnt sure it applied in this case.
Nausea And Eating Disorders
Approximately 40% of children with CFS experience significant nausea and many develop subsequent problems with eating. CFS and eating difficulties can develop into a vicious cycle where not eating makes the fatigue worse and the fatigue and nausea make eating difficult. Adolescents say that their eating difficulties are caused by abdominal pain, being tired, and changes in their sense of taste and smell. There are no trials for investigating what treatments are effective, but current guidance suggests that eating little and often can be helpful.
While some children struggle to eat because of nausea, in others, increasing weight is a problem. Children with CFS assessed in a specialist clinic were found to be at a greater risk of developing obesity compared with healthy children . No increased risk was found in those identified as having chronic disabling fatigue in a birth cohort, suggesting the risk of developing obesity is only present for children and adolescents with CFS that require specialist care.
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When To See A Doctor
Fatigue can be a symptom of many illnesses, such as infections or psychological disorders. In general, see your doctor if you have persistent or excessive fatigue.
We have a Chronic Fatigue Specialist available to help you with your condition. Please set an appointment to see one of our professionals.
How Is Cfs Treated
Theres currently no specific cure for CFS.
Each person has different symptoms and therefore may require different types of treatment to manage the disorder and relieve their symptoms.
Work with your team of healthcare providers to create the best treatment plan for you. They can go over the possible benefits and side effects of the therapies with you.
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Children And Teens With Me/cfs
As with adults, the degree to which a child or teens life is impacted by the disease depends on a number of things, including disease severity. If the child is mildly affected, he or she might benefit from a slightly modified school schedule and a reduction in social activity as long as parents and guardians recognize the need to avoid triggering PEM and worsening symptoms. If the child is moderately ill, the school and parent/guardian will need to work together to establish a substantially modified plan of education which might include private tutoring, remote learning, or some type of home-schooling. Children who fall into the moderate-to-severe range are generally unable to attend school at all and need help with even the most basic personal care.
It is important for family members and caregivers to know enough about the disease to understand what is happening and help guide the childs activities in order to prevent worsening of symptoms. For more information about navigating pediatric ME/CFS and working with your childs school, click here.
What Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment Look Like
We recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs and concerns, with the caveat that progress while living with CFS is slow work, but very rewarding.
We believe in the functional medicine approach, and we try to heal your body as a whole, not concentrating on just one area.
- An anti-inflammatory diet, specific to you and your needs to help alleviate your aches and pains.
- Investigate the possibility of allergies, or an additional undiagnosed autoimmune disease.
- Integrative therapies such as acupuncture and nutritional therapy
These treatments are intended as a long-term solution to reduce your symptoms and help you lead a more functional life.
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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
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.
How Long Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Last
CFS is usually diagnosed after a period of six months from the time that you first presented with the fatigue. Chronic fatigue syndrome is an ongoing condition with no outright cure. Treatment is usually focused on pain relief and managing the disease effectively.
Sometimes your symptoms can affect you in cycles periods of feeling worse alternating with periods where you feel much better. Some patients even enter a period of remission, but it is still possible to suffer a relapse. It is important to stay realistic and cautious when managing your health.
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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A treatment plan for CFS aims to relieve your symptoms to improve your quality of life. The plan should include:
- a plan for how to manage stress
- a very gentle exercise plan
- a nutritious diet, with regular meals/snacks to keep up your energy
- supplements if your diet lacks a good balance or if your blood tests indicate deficiencies
- a sleep management plan, which may include medication
- physiotherapy to help with pain and good breathing techniques
- medication for pain
- psychological input if you are particularly stressed or depressed.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex illness marked by extreme or debilitating fatigue that is not improved by rest. This condition includes other symptoms that may come and go. Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect your ability to think clearly, sleep or perform ordinary activities without exhaustion.
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown. Some experts think two or more contributing risk factors might work together to cause it. This illness is most common in white women between 40 and 60 years old. However, it may be underdiagnosed in other groups of people.
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Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There are strategies for dealing with the daily challenges of CFS. These may work for you, especially in combination with medications prescribed by your doctor.
- Keep a daily diary to identify times when you have the most energy. Plan your activities for these times.
- Keep up some level of activity and exercise, within your abilities. Your doctor can help you plan an exercise program to maintain your strength at whatever level is possible. Exercise can help your body and mind.
- Give yourself permission to recognize and express your feelings, such as sadness, anger, and frustration.
- Ask for support from family and friends. Look for support groups or counseling in your community. Your doctor is another important source of help. Emotional support is important in coping with a chronic health problem.
- If your memory and concentration are affected by chronic fatigue, keep lists and make notes to remind yourself of important things. Also, give yourself more time for activities that take concentration. Medicine may also help you sleep better, which might improve your memory and concentration.
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.
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How Do I Know If I’m At Risk
While there is no explanation as to why a particular person may experience chronic fatigue syndrome, there are several factors that play an important role in influencing someones likelihood of being diagnosed with CFS. These risk factors include:
- Age: Most individuals with CFS will receive an official diagnosis when they are between 40 and 50 years old.
- Gender: Women are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome two to four times more often than men.
- Genetics: It is commonly accepted that certain individuals are born with a predisposition to CFS.
- Stress levels: Inability to effectively manage stress can contribute to the development of CFS.
- Prior health concerns: While there is no clear link, evidence suggests that individuals who suffer from a compromised immune system, abnormal hormone levels, human herpes virus 6, Epstein-Barr virus, or mouse leukemia viruses may be more likely to become affected by CFS.
Which Doctor Should I See For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If a person suspects having CFS, it is best to see a GP. The GP will recommend having physical and blood tests done. He or she will also ask about the patients medical history. It is also important to be aware that not all GPs and health care providers have CFS programs in place. It will be best to do some research to find the health care practitioner who can alleviate the CFS symptoms.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The long-term outlook varies quite a bit. There may be times when your symptoms are not too bad and other times when they flare up and become worse. However, many people improve over time and some recover well. Children and younger people have a better rate of full recovery. Early diagnosis and treatment may lessen the impact of the illness. The important thing to remember is that this is not a progressive or life-threatening disease and that for many people full recovery is possible.
Problems With Current Research
Research into this important illness is hampered by small sample sizes, different definitions, and the lack of a coordinated approach. CFS is probably not one illness, and it is likely that the different phenotypes are due to different underlying biological pathways requiring different treatment approaches. This may explain the relatively low response rate to current treatments. To develop better treatments, we need larger trials with carefully characterized participants to understand more about treatment response. We need to develop treatments in the areas identified previously where there is no evidence for effective treatment. This includes the treatment of CFS and comorbid mood disorders, CFS in primary school children, those who are severely affected, and those with refractory fatigue. We also need to start to develop an understanding of the biology of CFS/ME and whether different biological pathways are associated with different disease phenotypes. Some early studies with small sample studies suggest that an omic approach to dissecting out the different subtypes may help to clarify different biological pathways. This approach will require a large bioresource of well-characterized patients.
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What Complications Are Associated With Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
For some people, the fatigue associated with ME/CFS makes activities of daily living very difficult or even impossible. Research shows that only half of all people diagnosed with ME/CFS work full-time or part-time jobs.
ME/CFS causes significant depression in many people living with the condition. If you experience depression, talk with your doctor â effective treatments are available.
What Do Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms Look Like
Chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms feel very different to the period of recovery after an illness, or even the tiredness experienced by sufferers of depression. Chronic fatigue syndrome makes you feel so tired that you cant do anything. If you have CFS, you may struggle to read to the end of this webpage.
- Feel permanently exhausted not just down to a busy lifestyle, but exhausted even after a period of rest?
- Have trouble sleeping or staying asleep?
- Suffer from brain fog or have difficulty focusing?
- Feel fatigue even upon waking up?
- Constantly suffer from headaches?
- Feel completely floored for a few days after exercising or thinking hard?
- Suffer from joint or muscle pain?
- Have enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits or neck?
- Have a sore throat?
If so, then you may have chronic fatigue syndrome.
Your doctor may wish to rule out other conditions before diagnosing CFS. These conditions include, but are not limited to: lupus, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, mono, and thyroid disease.
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