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How To Tell If You Have Chronic Fatigue

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What Does It Mean To Be Immunocompromised

Two Things You Need To Know About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lets start by breaking down the word.

Immuno refers to your immune system. Its the immune systems job to first detect harmful bacteria or viruses and then to fight them off. Compromised means that this system isnt working as it should or needs to in order to keep you safe.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases states that our immune systems are incredibly complex, which is why its harder to understand what makes a person immunocompromised.

Everyones immune system slips up sometimes by letting in viruses or bacteria. But this doesnt mean that everyone is automatically immunocompromised.

Think of your immune system as a coffee filter. You want to eventually have that steaming, rich mug of morning energy, but you dont want the gritty particles from the coffee beans to end up in there. Thats what the filter is for to let the good materials through and keep the other stuff out.

If the coffee filter is your immune system, the desirable drink is the strong and healthy cells that you want. But sometimes, the filter doesnt keep all the undesirable tastes and textures out of your coffee. This causes the development of infected and unhealthy cells.

When your immune system cant filter out the bacteria or viruses or if theres simply too many to filter at once your body responds by feeling sick.

Certified physician assistant Annie McGorry spoke to Healthline on her experiences working with immunocompromised patients during the pandemic.

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?

  • Yes

Making Breakthroughs Possible

Where Can I Get Support

Even in its mildest form, chronic fatigue can have a significant emotional and financial impact on your life. A lack of understanding and awareness about CFS/ME means patients can experience disbelief, and even discrimination, from friends, family, health and social care professionals and employers.

People need wider support in order to continue to manage aspects of their life. Information on entitlements to welfare benefits, accessing health and social care and others sources of support for patients and carers are available from Action for M.E.

Action for M.E. has a number of booklets that may be useful for people living with CFS/ME, their families and their health professionals. They also offer resources and services for children and young people affected by chronic fatigue and their families.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Diagnosis And Treatment

JOSEPH R. YANCEY, MD, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Virginia

SARAH M. THOMAS, MD, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington

Am Fam Physician. 2012 Oct 15 86:741-746.

Patient information: See related handout on chronic fatigue syndrome, written by the authors of this article.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a widespread problem. It is estimated that more than 2 million Americans have CFS, many of whom have not been diagnosed.1 Women are twice as likely as men to have CFS,1 and it is more common in persons older than 40 years.1,2 There is not an established racial or educational predilection.1,2 CFS is often mentally and emotionally debilitating, and persons with this diagnosis are twice as likely to be unemployed as persons with fatigue who do not meet formal criteria for CFS.3 In 2002, the estimated annual cost of lost productivity was $9.1 billion dollars in the United States.4 In addition to economic hardships, persons with CFS are more likely to report subjective functional impairment than those with chronic fatigue.3

SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Persons with chronic fatigue should have an evaluation, including history, physical examination, and initial laboratory testing .

SORT: KEY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE

Persons with chronic fatigue should have an evaluation, including history, physical examination, and initial laboratory testing .

How Can I Help My Child

There Are 4 Different Types of Headaches. Here

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.

Read Also: Does Low Platelet Count Cause Fatigue

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.

Investigate Your Viral Levels

Before you think fatigue is all in your head, request a viral panel from your doctor to make sure your immune system isn’t bogged down by a virus. Everyone has viruses living inside their body, but it’s often hard to tell if they causing active problems or not.

Once you have a virus in your body, it never goes away. In healthy individuals the virus or viruses often stay dormant, but when health falls below par or you have prolonged stress, antibiotic overuse, vaccinations, toxic lifestyle, and/or surgeries, a virus can be reactivated. A classic example of this is when you or someone you know gets a cold sore when theyre under a lot of stress, as cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Another example of this is when someone who had the chickenpox in childhood gets shingles later in life, it’s just a reactivation of the chickenpox virus.

A virus works by invading healthy normal cells and take advantage of them, using them to multiply. By living inside your cells, they are protected from typical medicines that swim around in your bloodstream, making them hard to treat.

The most common viral signs are fatigue, night sweats, fever, and painful joints. If these symptoms are familiar, it’s time to consider checking in with a doctor or naturopath that can get you tested. Here are just a few things to consider testing for, although your doctor should know exactly what you need:

Also Check: Signs Of Dizziness And Fatigue

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.

How Do I Know If I Have Chronic Fatigue

You Know You have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when…

The modern world can be an exhausting place. There are endless demands on your time, such as work, commuting, kids gym, and family commitments, that can leave even the most resilient among us feeling drained. But when does that normal feeling of tiredness cross over into something a little more sinister? When does exhaustion become the disease known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? There are signs that answer the question, How do I know if I have Chronic Fatigue?

As its one of the most misunderstood ailments of the modern world, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers often find themselves branded as lazy rather than actually ill. Symptoms can range from constant exhaustion to depression, weakness of the limbs and an inability to get any kind of meaningful rest to the point where the sufferer becomes bedridden.

And the worst part is, nobody knows what causes it. Even the Mayo Clinic describes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that cant be explained by any underlying medical condition. The clinic further notes that the fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesnt improve with rest.

So, with such a vague range of symptoms, how do you know that what youre suffering from is actuallyChronic Fatigue Syndrome? Well, there are a few subtle indicators that may suggest you have more than just a case of being plain ole exhausted.

Recommended Reading: Muscle And Joint Pain With Fatigue Treatment

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.

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.

Don’t 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

Read Also: Fatigue In The Workplace Safety

What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Scientists have been researching chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, but they still don’t know for sure what causes it.

Many doctors believe that the way some conditions interact within the body and mind might leave some people at risk for CFS. For example, if someone has a and is under a lot of stress, the combination of these two things might make them more likely to develop CFS.

These things are believed to interact with each other in this way, putting some people at risk for CFS:

  • infections. Experts have wondered if infections like measles or Epstein-Barr virus might increase the risk for CFS. The role Epstein-Barr plays in CFS is not clear because studies have not confirmed it as a cause.
  • problems with the immune system or the nervous system
  • hormone imbalances
  • low blood pressure

Foods Rich In B Vitamins

How to Tell if You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

B Vitamins also help the body maintain its daily functions and boost brain function, to keep you more mentally alert, which is helpful for those with CFS. Plus, it makes you physically energized too, to help you get out of bed and maintain normal activity.

For folate, eat more green leafy vegetables, spinach, black-eyed peas, fortified plant milks and cereals, romaine lettuce for other B vitamins, a mix of animal foods , grains and fruits and vegetables will get people plenty of these nutrients, says Dixon.

Also Check: Weakness And Fatigue In Arms

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

By | Submitted On February 16, 2010

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 one’s 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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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.

Also Check: Body Aches Chills Headache Fatigue

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:

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