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.
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Me/cfs
The most common symptom is ongoing, unexplained overwhelming tiredness or fatigue which worsens after exercise or mental effort. This is known as post-exertional malaise . The level of activity that triggers PEM will vary from person to person and can depend on how severe their condition is. PEM is sometimes delayed and can last for a few days. A more serious relapse can last for weeks or months.
A common misconception is that people with ME/CFS have ‘chronic fatigue and are just very tired. Persistent and profound fatigue is just one symptom of ME/CFS.
Other symptoms may include:
Some people may experience only mild symptoms, but others may develop more severe symptoms.
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Do I Have Me/cfs Quiz
Take our short quiz, based on the criteria presented in the Institute of Medicine report Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness, to see if you may have ME/CFS.
ME/CFS is a chronic, complex, neuroimmune disease that profoundly limits the health and productivity of patients and, like Long Covid, is often triggered by an infection. Because it is not yet fully understood, there is no cure for ME/CFS, nor are there any FDA-approved drugs or treatments. The main symptoms are extreme exhaustion , cognitive dysfunction and unrefreshing sleep. Other symptoms may vary.
While we cannot provide medical advice, we hope this simple quiz, which is grounded in science, is useful.
- Question three*
Post-exertional malaise is a hallmark of ME/CFS. PEM occurs when even mild exertion or normal activity results in the loss of physical and mental stamina and the worsening of other symptoms after exertion. Post-exertional malaise can sometimes occur immediately but is generally delayed for 24 or more hours following exertion.
Do you experience post-exertional malaise after physical or mental exertion or normal daily activities?
- Not Sure
- Question four*
Do you experience unrefreshing sleep ? This occurs when you awake from sleep feeling as exhausted as when you went to bed, despite being in bed for an extensive period of time.
- Not Sure
Making Breakthroughs Possible
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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What We Knew Then
First of all, the textbooks of medicine didnt describe an illness like this. In addition, all the usual laboratory tests to screen for various diseases came back normal. At this point, a doctor has two choices: decide to believe the patient and keep searching to find what is wrong, or to tell the patient, There is nothing wrong. Indeed, some doctors seeing people like my patient did just that, adding insult to injury.
Fortunately, many physicians and biomedical scientists around the world became interested in this illness, and over 9,000 scientific studies have been published in the past 35 years. The Institute of Medicine has concluded that the condition, now called myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious, chronic, complex systemic disease that often can profoundly affect the lives of patients. It affects up to 2.5 million people in the United States, and generates direct and indirect expenses of approximately $17 to $24 billion annually.
How Your Family Can Help
Always remember that youre not alone. Support from your family can make your condition easier to bear by spending time with you on good days as well as the bad days.
I try to make family members a partner in treatment, he says. When you just want to spend the day in bed watching TV because of fatigue or pain, a family member can encourage simple, fun activities to help get you moving.
Whether your diagnosis is chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, a doctors role in treating the disease small. A doctor is there as the coach and can help you with the first 10% to 15% of improvement, while you have to help yourself manage the remaining 85% to 90%.
If youre suffering with chronic pain and/or fatigue, talk to your doctor. A diagnosis can put you in a better position to manage your symptoms even if there are still some mysteries surrounding your disease.
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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.
Causes Of Extreme Fatigue
Many people struggle with fatigue, which has many causes some obvious, others not so much. Causes of chronic fatigue include poor quality or not enough sleep, a bad diet, not exercising, and metabolic and hormonal imbalances. It becomes a vicious cycle when fatigue sets in and worsens your fatigue.
But you can manage your fatigue when you first figure out the root causeor causes of feeling tired all the time. Some reasons why you might feel extreme fatigue include:
- Adrenal burnout
- Thyroid imbalances
- Other hormonal imbalances like testosterone, estrogen, and cortisol
- Being a perfectionist
- Being around overly critical or negative people
- Not having a positive mindset
- Food sensitivities
- Mitochondrial dysfunctions mitochondria are those little power plants in your cells. Malfunctioning mitochondria can create massive energy crashes.
- Overexercise a good workout should leave you feeling energetic and strong. Overexercising or overtraining can have the opposite effect, creating chronic fatigue that zaps your energy and mood.
- Toxicity including things like environmental pollutants, but also less-obvious toxins, including mold, mercury from amalgams, and electromagnetic fields from electronics.
This list goes on, and oftentimes multiple factors create or worsen fatigue. On the other hand, chronic fatigue might result from one primary reason, like poor sleep, stress, a bad diet, or not getting the right nutrients. These five strategies may help you boost your energy.
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How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
There’s no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. But experts say that these lifestyle changes can help kids and teens who have it:
- Regular planned exercise as part of a daily routine. Exercise can increase energy and make a person feel better. Teens with CFS should pace themselves while doing any physical activity that takes a lot of effort. Several studies show that “graded exercise” is very helpful in CFS recovery. This means starting with small activities and slowly working up to a higher level of exercise.
- Follow stress-management and stress-reduction techniques. A doctor or therapist can teach teens great ways to take control of some aspects of the illness.
- Ensure good sleep habits and regular bedtime routines to overcome CFS-related sleep problems.
- Find ways to keep track of important things, such as keeping lists and making notes, if there are problems with concentration or memory.
Meeting often with a therapist or counselor can help in CFS treatment. So can getting involved in a support group for people with CFS. The main goals of therapy are:
- to help people cope with the illness
- to change negative or unrealistic thoughts or feelings into positive, realistic ones
Having a positive outlook about getting better is very helpful. Therapy and support groups can also help students with CFS deal with the academic or social challenges. It’s common for kids and teens with CFS to miss school, have poor grades, or withdraw from friends and social situations.
Long Term Exhaustion For No Reason
How Do I Know If I Have Chronic Fatigue? Symptom 4
Sometimes the body simply goes through a short period of adjustment to its sleep cycle and you can feel exhausted no matter what you do for two or three days. This isnt Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Medical professionals only begin to look at CFS when these symptoms of dramatic exhaustion, mental fatigue, depression and aches & pains last for six weeks or more.
If youve had a period of six continuous weeks where youve had all of these symptoms, then you may have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Consult with a medical practitioner if this is the case with you. After a physical exam, they will run a series of tests on your blood for fatigue to rule out other, potential causes of your symptoms. CFS can only be diagnosed by ruling out other conditions.
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Diagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Laboratory tests to exclude other causes of symptoms
At least one of the following manifestations is also required:
Feeling of light-headedness or dizziness when standing up that is relieved by lying down
The frequency and severity of the symptoms should be assessed by a doctor. If people do not have these symptoms at least half of the time with moderate, substantial, or severe intensity, doctors reconsider the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome .
Criteria for diagnosis are important mainly because they help doctors communicate clearly with each other when they study a problem. However, when treating a specific individual, doctors focus more on that person’s symptoms rather than the criteria.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There is no single test for diagnosing CFS. Care providers usually must consider many diagnostic factors and the results of several tests to rule out other conditions, such as:
- Sleep disorders
- Medical conditions like anemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, IBS
- Mood disorders and other mental health problems, e.g. depression and anxiety
Making matters more complicated, many of the above conditions tend to be comorbid with CFS. That is, they exist simultaneously and have a synergistic effect .
To be diagnosed with CFS, symptoms must last for 6 months, be of new onset, and not be alleviated by rest.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
- Take along a list of all the symptoms you are experiencing in case you forget some of them during your talk with the doctor or nurse.
- Talk about how much you can do at work or school and around the house.
- Ask if there are any financial supports or services you could apply for.
- Ask for help with pain, sleep and remaining active if these are problems for you.
- Ask about what you should be eating.
What Home Remedies Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Physical activity performed at a comfortable pace is important for everyone to maintain good health, including people with chronic fatigue syndrome. People with CFS need to learn how much activity is helpful and when to stop, so they do not increase their level of fatigue.
In general, people with CFS should pace themselves carefully and avoid excessive physical or emotional stress. Remember, the goal is to avoid increasing fatigue or pain. Maintain a regular and manageable daily routine to avoid a relapse or increase of symptoms. Exercise should be supervised by a knowledgeable health-care provider or physical therapist.Total rest should also be avoided as it may make your fatigue worse. You should maintain physical activity at a comfortable pace. If you increase your level of physical activity, do so gradually.Decreased consumption of alcohol and caffeine at night may help you sleep.Try to minimize social isolation.
Always ask your doctor about any new treatment, including herbal supplements.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue
Among the symptoms are severe fatigue that comes from work, physical activity, shopping or something as simple as showering. Other symptoms include sleep problems and muscle pain and aches.
Fatigue is a vague symptom. It could be coming from a lot of different things, Dr. Zaidi said. We have to properly investigate how long its been occurring, and rule out secondary causes. Could it be sleep apnea, depression, a thyroid problem, could it be anemic? Those are to name a few.
Dr. Zaidi recommends talking to your doctor about your symptoms and have the appropriate bloodwork done to eliminate other causes.
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What Is The Outlook
The long-term outlook varies from person to person. Although some people recover or have a long period of remission, many will need to adapt to living with /CFS. The outlook is better in children and young people than in adults.
CFS affects everyone differently and its impact varies widely. For some people symptoms still allow them to carry out some activities, whereas for others they cause severe impacts on different aspects of the lives of people with CFS and their families and carers, including activities of daily living, family life, social life, emotional well-being, work and education.
What Fatigue Really Feels Like
Think about these scenarios:
- You had the flu and it knocked you out for a short period. You were too sick to get much done, and definitely too sick to work or play with your children.
- You had too much fun and a few too many drinks one night, then couldnt get off the couch the entire next day. You felt so weak and tired that you had to call in sick with some made-up illness.
Chronic fatigue resembles these situations, but its worse because it doesnt get better with medicine, rest, caffeine, a greasy breakfast, or time.
Indeed, Dr. Barlett told me that Im not alone in these descriptions.
People with RA will often describe their fatigue as a feeling of being completely wiped out or utterly exhausted or how I feel when Im coming down with the flu, she says. This type of fatigue does not seem to improve with sleep or rest, and very often is a sign that disease activity is increasing. Indeed, in work we did across many countries, almost everyone we spoke with mentioned extreme fatigue as the first and most reliable signs that they are about to have a serious disease flare.
Our fatigue is always there, nagging away.
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