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How To Tell If You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Getting Older And Me/cfs

Solving the mystery of chronic fatigue syndrome

There is very little information on getting older and ME/CFS, however people can develop ME/CFS at any age. Additionally, all of the strategies such as pacing to reduce PEM and managing symptoms still apply. As people age, other problems with their health may also arise, so discussing any new symptoms with their doctor important.

Diagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  • Laboratory tests to exclude other causes of symptoms

At least one of the following manifestations is also required:

  • Difficulty thinking

  • 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 persons symptoms rather than the criteria.

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Hiv #i: Compare Hiv To It

I can tell you without hesitation, chronic fatigue syndrome is much worse than HIV. HIV/AIDS Patient

Have them read a Huffington Post piece written by a person with an aggressive form of HIV/AIDS taking care of his partner with ME/CFS. Despite having a particularly scary form of HIV, he was more worried about his partner.

You see, Franky has lived the majority of his life with a little-understood chronic illness, which relapses and fluctuates without warning. This illness is ME/CFS and it is often referred to as the great invisible disease of our time.

After his ear surgery, Frankys illness kicked in with the force of a dragons venom. He had violent thrashing vertigo and seizures, along with bone-crushing pain that spread up and down his every fiber. He could not move without assistance. I had to spoon-feed him and bathe him. As a person living with HIV, watching the daily suffering of my partner who has chronic fatigue syndrome, I can tell you without hesitation, chronic fatigue syndrome is much worse than HIV. Its unfathomable that his disease is even named something as belittling and dismissive as chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Disorder How To Know If You Have Cfs

Would you even be able to tell if you were a sufferer of CFS? The purpose of this article will be to help you to understand what chronic fatigue syndrome is and you should be learning how to know if you have CFS.

Chronic fatigue syndrome leaves its sufferers confused and seeking out answers that their medical doctors are unable to provide for them. The reason for this is that CFS is a little known disorder that is beginning to become widespread and no one is really sure why and how people come to suffer from this health issue. Most medical professionals will give you one of many reasons for a diagnosis of this disorder these reasons include that they are all in oneâs mind, that they are overtaxing their bodies and minds by working too much, or they are under a lot of undue stress, and not getting enough rest.

The truth is, there are no clear reasons on what causes chronic fatigue syndrome to appear, it is an illness that can show up instantly or slowly over time yet the longer a person suffers the worse the condition and the symptoms become. In addition to developing CFS, the patient usually already has one or more health issues that they are contending with and trying to control with medicines from their health care providers.

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The Nuclear Option: The Me/cfs And Fm Symptom Thread

How to Tell if You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

That didnt work? Pray for them, they need help. Promise them that the agony is almost over, and then go to the nuclear option: the symptom description thread . This option is not recommended for children, the fragile or people prone to depression. They may never look at you the same again but they will get a good sense of what ME/CFS and/or FM can be like.

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When To See A Healthcare Provider

You should see your healthcare provider if any of your symptoms are incapacitating or severe. The symptoms of ME/CFS are shared with many other conditions, some of which may require monitoring or immediate treatment.

If your symptoms are generally mild and fluctuating, you may question your need for an evaluation. Even if your symptoms are severe, you may have friends or family members who think you are exaggerating and don’t understand what you are experiencing. But chronic fatigue syndrome is more than just being tiredit’s feeling sick.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Doctor Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide for your next doctor’s appointment to help you ask the right questions.

When your symptoms last for more than two weeks, continue to get worse, or if you have a pattern of recurrences , it’s time to make an appointment.

While the diagnosis of ME/CFS won’t be made until you have the symptoms for more than six months, you shouldn’t delay seeking care and assessment. ME/CFS is diagnosed by symptoms and excluding other conditions. You may discover your symptoms are due to a condition that has an effective treatment available.

Keep a record of your symptoms, noting dates they began or worsened and what may have triggered them. Some of them may resolve if they are due to an overlapping condition that is being treated, but some symptoms may remain and need to be addressed.

What Are The Treatments For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There is no cure or approved treatment for CFS, but you may be able to treat or manage some of your symptoms. You, your family, and your health care provider should work together to decide on a plan. You should figure out which symptom causes the most problems and try to treat that first. For example, if sleep problems affect you the most, you might first try using good sleep habits. If those do not help, you may need to take medicines or see a sleep specialist.

Strategies such as learning new ways to manage activity can also be helpful. You need to make sure that you do not push and crash. This can happen when you feel better, do too much, and then get worse again.

Since the process of developing a treatment plan and attending to self-care can be hard if you have CFS, it is important to have support from family members and friends.

Dont try any new treatments without talking to your health care provider. Some treatments that are promoted as cures for CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Theres a long list of possible symptoms that someone with fatigue syndrome can have. The most common ones include:

  • severe fatigue, which can make it hard to get out of bed and do normal daily activities
  • sleep problems, such as trouble falling or staying asleep, or not having a refreshing sleep
  • symptoms getting worse after physical or mental effort
  • symptoms or dizziness that get worse after standing up or sitting upright from a lying down position
  • problems with concentration and memory

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How Is Me/cfs Diagnosed

You Know You have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when…

Because many symptoms of ME/CFS are also symptoms of other illnesses or side effects of medicine, your doctor will need to do physical exams and tests to help determine if you have ME/CFS. There are no standard lab tests to diagnose ME/CFS.

If you think you may have ME/CFS, see your doctor. Your doctor may:

  • Ask you about your physical and mental health.
  • Do a physical exam.
  • Order lab tests based on your symptoms, such as urine and blood tests, which will tell your doctor if something other than ME/CFS might be causing your symptoms.
  • Order tests that check for problems found in people with ME/CFS.
  • Classify you as having ME/CFS if:
  • You have the main symptoms of ME/CFS, including extreme fatigue or exhaustion that does not go away and that prevents you from doing the things you want and need to do for you and your family exhaustion that comes after mental or physical exercise sleep problems and pain AND
  • You have had the extreme fatigue and other symptoms for 6 months or longer AND
  • You and your doctor cannot find another explanation for your symptoms.

The process to make a final diagnosis of ME/CFS can take a long time, so try to be patient. It is usually best to develop a relationship and follow up often with one doctor so that he or she can get to know you and see how you respond to treatment over time.

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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. Its 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.

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

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.

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How Is Chronic Fatigue Treated

As far as treatment goes, Dr. Zaidi said the biggest help to a person suffering from CFS is to offer emotional support. A regimented physical therapy program is also recommended. Its also important not to overdo it when it comes to activities and to get proper rest when needed. Patience and understanding are especially important for persons recovering from a COVID-19 diagnosis.

As long as you mentally understand what this disease is and what outcomes there can be for you, we can get down to what aspects of your quality of life youd like the greatest improvement. Thats where that discussion between you and your doctor is going to have to happen, Dr. Zaidi said.

Housebound Or Bedbound With Me/cfs

There Are 4 Different Types of Headaches. Here

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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Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Your Symptoms

Since chronic fatigue syndrome can be difficult to diagnose, it is helpful to come prepared to your doctors appointment. Think back to when your symptoms first started, and whether they may be linked to a stressful event or an illness. Make a note of all the symptoms you have experienced, even if they do not seem directly related to chronic fatigue syndrome. This can help your doctor rule out other conditions.

You may also want to prepare a list of questions to ask your doctor. Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome tends to focus on managing symptoms through medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Tell your doctor about your preferences regarding activity levels, so they can help establish a treatment plan that works for you. They may need to refer you to specialists for more targeted treatment of certain symptoms.

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Home Remedies And Lifestyle Changes

Making some lifestyle changes may help reduce your symptoms.

Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake can help you sleep better and ease your insomnia. You should limit or avoid nicotine and alcohol too.

Try to avoid napping during the day if its hurting your ability to sleep at night.

Create a sleep routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every day.

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Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The main feature of ME/CFS is a type of exhaustion known as post-exertional malaise, crash or payback. This means having flu-like symptoms after exercise and not having enough energy for daily activities.

Research shows that people with ME/CFS have a different physiological response to activity or exercise from other people. This includes abnormal exhaustion after any form of exertion, and a worsening of other symptoms. The response may be delayed, perhaps after 24 hours. Depending on the amount and type of exercise, it may result in post-exertional malaise for a few days, or serious relapses lasting weeks, months or even years.

  • problems with thinking, concentrating, memory loss, vision, clumsiness, muscle twitching or tingling
  • disrupted sleep
  • sore throat, tender lymph nodes and a flu-like feeling
  • inability to cope with temperature changes.

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Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Theres no standard treatment for ME/CFS or fibromyalgia. Most people end up with multiple types of treatment. It can take a lot of trial and error to come up with a good treatment regimen.

Types of treatment include:

Topical pain relievers like BioFreeze and Tiger Balm are commonly used, as well.


Some therapies are controversial when it comes to ME/CFS. Two historically common ones are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy : A type of talk therapy that addresses negative thoughts and habits and how to replace them with healthier behaviors.
  • Graded exercise therapy : Controlled exercise that attempts to build exercise tolerance.

These treatments used to be recommended as first-line treatments, despite little evidence showing them to be effective. A major flaw in this treatment approach is that it doesn’t address known physiological abnormalities of the disease.

In fact, the theory behind these treatments holds that ME/CFS involves false beliefs, being out of shape, and having an irrational aversion to exercise. These beliefs are not supported by research or the experiences of people with ME/CFS.

Some studies estimated CBT and GET to benefit about 20% of people who tried them. Other estimates put it as low as 10%.


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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.

Guidelines For Diagnosing Me/cfs

Guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence say doctors should consider diagnosing ME/CFS if a patient has extreme tiredness that cannot be explained by other causes and the tiredness:

  • started recently, has lasted a long time, or keeps coming back
  • means you cannot do the things you used to do
  • gets worse after activity or gentle exercise, such as a short walk

You must also have some of these symptoms:

  • problems sleeping, such as insomnia
  • muscle or joint pain
  • fast or irregular heartbeats
  • doing exercise or concentrating makes your symptoms worse

The GP should consult a specialist if they’re unsure about the diagnosis or if you have severe symptoms.

If a child or young person under 18 has symptoms of possible ME/CFS, they may be referred to a paediatrician.

As the symptoms of ME/CFS are similar to those of many common illnesses that usually get better on their own, a diagnosis of ME/CFS may be considered if you do not get better as quickly as expected.

The diagnosis should be confirmed by a doctor after other conditions have been ruled out, and if your symptoms have lasted at least 3 months.

Page last reviewed: 29 October 2021 Next review due: 29 October 2024

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