First Differentiate Between Sleepiness And Fatigue
It’s important to determine if low energy is fatigue or sleepiness.
Sleepiness is characterized by the tendency to fall asleep when engaging in non-stimulating activities like reading, watching TV, sitting in a meeting, commuting, or lying down.
- Ability to wake up in the morning
- Perceived sleep quality: do you wake feeling rested?
- The use of sleep aids
- Exercise routines, how close to bedtime you eat or exercise.
And so on.
There are a number of sleep diaries you can use to self-assess your sleep. Perhaps the best is the Consensus Sleep Diary. It was created by bringing together a number of existing diaries from a panel of experts with an objective to “present an expert consensus, standardized, patient-informed sleep diary”.
On top of that, using a sleep app like those from Apple or FitBit and undergoing a sleep study are additional tools for assessing the quality and duration of your sleep cycles that may be useful.
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Although there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome there are a number of ways to help manage your symptoms.
Because of the complexity of the illness, its changing nature and the number of possible symptoms, different things work for different people. Your GP may be able to support you through managing your individual symptoms. They may be able to refer you to a specialist service or to a service that will help you to manage individual symptoms but this depends on the services available in your area.
To decide what treatment is right for you, you should look at the evidence, including published research and patient surveys, and make sure you fully understand what the treatment involve, before you make a decision. You have the right to decline any treatment option you do not feel comfortable with.
Your GP may suggest some of the following treatment options.
How Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Treated
There is no standard treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, clinically known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome . However, there are many options for managing symptoms and improving quality of life, including lifestyle changes, stress management, therapy, and medications. With the help of your healthcare provider and other caregivers, these can be tailored to your specific symptoms.
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin
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What May Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Why chronic fatigue syndrome occurs is unclear and complex. Researchers conclude that infections, like pneumonia and bronchitis, and other immune deficiencies can be related to chronic fatigue syndrome. Depression, pain, and sleep disturbances frequently occur with chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you suspect chronic fatigue syndrome, you should find a healthcare practitioner who can take a holistic approach to your health and uncover underlying health issues and lifestyle factors that may contribute to your fatigue.
Unfortunately, patients sometimes feel frustrated that they havent been able to get answers from their doctors or by asking . They might see symptoms like chronic fatigue as in their head or they lack motivation or willpower.
What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms can vary with ME/CFS. If you have ME/CFS:
- You feel exhausted all or much of the time. And it doesn’t get better with rest.
- Your symptoms may flare up after a mental or physical activity that used to be no problem for you. Often there is a delay before it starts. And it can take days, weeks, or more to feel better.
- You have problems sleeping. Or you may wake up feeling tired or not rested.
- It may be harder for you to think clearly, to concentrate, and to remember things.
- You may feel dizzy, weak, or in more pain when you have been standing or sitting upright for a long time.
- You may also have headaches, muscle and joint pain, a sore throat, and tender glands in your neck or armpits.
Depression is common with ME/CFS, and it can make your other symptoms worse.
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Can This Injury Or Condition Be Prevented
The actual causes of CFS are not fully understood. To date, there is no sure way to predict or prevent it. Detecting the signs and symptoms of CFS early may help to manage it.
Education is key to managing CFS. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop methods to help you manage your symptoms. They also will help you better understand your condition.
Learning ways to manage CFS symptoms can help improve your function and quality of life. Your physical therapist or other members of your health care team may use strategies that include:
- Teaching you ways to balance activity and rest periods.
- A pacing self-management program. Your physical therapist can teach you mild, short-duration exercises. These will help you add physical activity to your life without making your symptoms worse.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. These therapies may help address any related problems such as anxiety and depression.
Fresh Evidence Points To A Cause And Possible Treatments For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis, has been largely dismissed as psychological. But recent trials of antiviral and immunosuppressant drugs have yielded encouraging results, suggesting a complex disease mechanism at play that researchers are hopeful they might be able to treat.
Anna suffered severe symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome , a mysterious disease also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis , from the age of 21 years. The disease forced her to abandon her masters degree and leave her job as a teacher. She became increasingly confined to her apartment, removed from the life she once knew. Any time I tried to do something that I didnt have the energy for, I felt nauseous and dizzy, with fever and pains in my joints and muscles, she says.
After a couple of years she sought help from a physiotherapist for her wasting muscles. mentioned this study and asked if she could give my name to the researchers, she says. So in 2008, Anna was enrolled in a phase II double-blind placebo-controlled trial testing a radical new treatment for CFS/ME. The research group, from Norways Helse Bergen University, administered intravenous drips to Anna but she showed no improvement and, after 12 months, discovered she was in the placebo arm of the trial. She was then eligible to receive the real medicine.
For the first time in my life I felt restless because I wanted to do things
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Complementary And Physical Therapies
There are several complementary and physical therapies that may help relieve symptoms in CFS. Acupuncture, tai chi, massage, meditation, relaxation therapy and yoga may help people to relax and increase energy, as well as treat muscular aches and pains.
Heat packs, warm baths and gentle stretching exercises may help with muscle and joint pain. TENS transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation can also provide relief from muscle pain.
What Are Your Options If Down Syndrome
Screen positive results If your test shows a high risk of having a baby with Down syndrome, your options are: To have a diagnostic procedure. This would tell you for sure if your baby has Down syndrome. If you had one of the standard serum screening tests, you can have a cell-free DNA test for secondary screening.
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What To Think About
Along with the treatment you get from your doctor, you might find that other treatments help too. Some people may try different diets or natural health products to help manage their symptoms. If you try a new diet or natural health product pay attention to how your body and symptoms respond to it. It may help to work closely with your doctor to figure out what works best for you.
Your mind and body are connected and affect each other. Physical illnesses can be made worseor betterby your feelings and attitudes, and vice versa. Learn as much as you can about ME/CFS. Then work with your doctor to learn ways to cope with your symptoms. Get emotional support from your health professionals as well as from your family and friends.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Im always tired. Is there something wrong with me?
- Do I need any tests to help determine why Im so tired all the time?
- What is the likely cause of my fatigue?
- Will alternative therapies such as yoga or acupuncture help?
- Do I need to make any diet or lifestyle changes?
- Is it safe for me to exercise? What kind of exercise should I do?
- How do I convince people that my fatigue is real?
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Find Ways To Relax And Reset Your Mind
For some people, taking 20 minutes during the afternoon to meditate can be enough to recharge. Maybe yoga or deep breathing is your thing. Whatever you do, find time to relax and reset your mind.
Chronic fatigue can impair your health and happiness, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. A chiropractor may help address any interference in your spine that may contribute to fatigue, as well as help manage the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. While it may take some time, and some behavior changes, you can get your energy back and reclaim your health and wellbeing.
Coenzyme Q10 Plus Nadh And Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Coenzyme Q10 and NADH are common antioxidant supplements that have been used for several decades as dietary supplements for general maintenanceof health. The benefits of their administration have been extensively evaluated in several conditions . However, several studies have shown that there is a mitochondrial dysfunction, which reduces the ATP production, as an immediate effect primary or secondary to symptoms in most CFS/ME patients .
In the UK, Myhill et al. highlighted the power and usefulness of the ATP profile test as a diagnostic tool for differentiating between patients who have CFS/ME and other symptoms as a result of energy wastage due to stress and psychological factors and those who have insufficient energy due to cellular respiration dysfunction. The biochemical tests should be performed in CFS/ME patients before and after appropriate interventions, and possibly in other disabling fatigue conditions as well .
Relatively few pharmacological or other therapies for CFS/ME have been tested in large RCTs. Overall, a report commissioned by the AHRQ based on a systematic review for a US NIH Pathways to Prevention Workshop concluded that no available pharmacotherapy is of proven benefit in CFS/ME. Table summarizes the current drug therapeutic strategies for CFS/ME.
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Treat The Worst First
Start by listing your worst symptomsthe ones that make it hardest to get through the day. With your doctor, focus first on treating those symptoms. Decide whether a specialist might be helpful for any of them.
The most common ME/CFS symptoms can also be the most treatable.
Symptoms worse after activity
Learning how to manage your activity can help you be as active as possible without causing your symptoms to get worse. This includes:
- Estimating how much energy you have on a given day. This is sometimes called your “energy envelope.” You spend only that much energy, and not more.
- Estimating how much energy an activity takes and how long you can do that activity. You stop when you reach that time, and then take a break.
- Not pushing yourself to get more done on days you feel well.
- Adapting activities to make them easier. One example is sitting down while doing the dishes.
Good sleep habits can help improve the quality of your sleep. If you also try medicine for sleep, it’s best to start on a low dose. Certain antidepressants help with sleep, mood, and chronic pain, so your doctor may suggest trying one.
Feeling dizzy or weak while sitting or standing
Your doctor may have you wear pressure stockings, put your legs up while sitting, or increase your salt intake. Your doctor may also suggest medicines like fludrocortisone or midodrine.
Depression, anxiety, and distress
Are You Often Subject To Intense Fatigue
How do you know your energy level?
Just by knowing if you are tired and how much/how often you get tired.
Fatigue is simply a lack of energy caused by a weak metabolism that does not produce adequate power and vitality.
This manifests itself in different ways according to the people.
You are tired in the morning when you wake up, while you have slept all night.
You get up late in the morning because you say you are an evening person.
You are tired after meals with a desire to nap, especially after lunch.
You are tired when you fast or skip one to two affiliate meals.
You are tired when you make a particular physical effort.
Several types of fatigue that simply reflect a crucial lack of vital energy is caused by weak metabolism.
An optimal metabolism allows one to have a stable and constant energy throughout the day.
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How To Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017. This article has been viewed 60,219 times.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating condition which leaves the afflicted individual with an ongoing feeling of exhaustion. Persons with CFS may be unable to perform even mundane activities which under normal circumstances present no problem. There is no cure for CFS, and there are no medications developed specifically for the condition. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available which can alleviate the symptoms associated with CFS.
Key Points About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by profound tiredness.
- Symptoms often worsen with physical or mental activity.
- In addition to severe fatigue, symptoms include light sensitivity, headache, muscle and joint pain, difficulty concentrating, mood swings, and depression.
- Treatments may include medicines, exercise, supplements, and counseling.
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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.
British Columbia Specific Information
Many Canadians are affected by complex chronic diseases . CCDs are illnesses that last a long time, require treatment and management, and often do not get better on their own. Fibromyalgia , Myalgic Encephalomyelitis , which is also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome , and Chronic Lyme Disease are examples of complex chronic diseases.
To learn more about fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic Lyme-like disease, visit HealthLinkBCs Complex Chronic Diseases health feature.
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Physical Therapy Guide To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition noted by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. Another name for CFS is myalgic encephalomyelitis. CFS affects less than 1% of the population in the United States, and women much more than men. About 90% of cases may not get diagnosed. Without treatment, CFS often limits a person’s ability to do basic life activities. With treatment, including physical therapy, CFS can be managed well. Physical therapists help people with CFS ease their discomfort and improve function and quality of life.
Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. You can contact a physical therapist directly for an evaluation. To locate a physical therapist in your area, visit Find a PT.
Who Gets Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, but is most common in people in their forties or fifties. It’s very rare in kids. A few teens do get CFS, and it affects more girls than guys.
Sometimes different people in the same family get CFS. This may be because the tendency to develop CFS is genetic.
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How Do People Report Reducing Their Symptoms And Moving Toward Recovery
In the absence of any approved medical treatment for ME/CFS, sufferers of the disease take their healing into their own hands. Many people who report improving their symptoms or recoveringlike Bruce, Carrie, Kenneth, and Karendescribe how they used pacing to help them very gradually increase their activity levels and regain their health.
Pacing is basically what it sounds like: paying attention to your energy level and other symptoms, and only doing what you can do without making your symptoms worse. ME/CFS patients often find it helpful to have planned periods of rest throughout the day. It can take a great deal of willpower and discipline to modify your lifestyle in this way, sticking to what feels like a very limiting schedule. But the alternativeoverdoing it and triggering the out-of-proportion intensification of symptoms is worse.
The focus on pacing as a method of recovery can make it sound like ME/CFS is a psychosomatic condition, but research has clearly shown that it is a physiological illness involving multiple systems of the body and causing many physical symptoms. The reason why pacing is helpful in recovery is simply because slowing down and paying attention to what your mind/body needs allows your systems to gradually heal and return to homeostasis.
If you have reduced your symptoms or recovered from ME/CFS by any means and would like to share your story, I will add it to this post so that others can learn from your experiences. You can email me at