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Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Real

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Putting It All Together

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Is Not Depression

The first step to recovery from chronic fatigue syndrome is your own acknowledgement that you are ill. Reaching out to a natural health practitioner specializing in treating patients with chronic fatigue syndrome is essential to getting the right help you need.

Patience and persistence are needed while using natural treatment to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome.

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What We Know Now

As I discussed in a recent article in the journal JAMA, research has documented underlying biological abnormalities involving many organ systems in people with ME/CFS, compared with healthy controls. Heres an overview of what the current science suggests.

The brain. Tests of brain hormones, formal tests of thinking, magnetic resonance imaging , and positron emission tomography scans of the brain are abnormal in a substantial fraction of patients with ME/CFS. Tests of the autonomic nervous system, which controls vital functions including body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and movement of the intestines and bladder, also are abnormal. Not all of these abnormalities of the brain are present in every person with ME/CFS, and they appear to come and go.

Energy metabolism. We are alive because the cells of our body are alive. And theyre alive because they can make energy, and use that energy to do their jobs and remain alive. Our cells make energy out of the oxygen in the air we breathe, and out of the sugars, fats, and proteins we eat. In ME/CFS, research has shown that the cells have trouble both making and using energy. That is, people with ME/CFS feel they dont have enough energy because their cells are not making enough, nor using what they make efficiently. The ability of cells to extract oxygen from the blood and use it to make energy appears particularly defective after physical and mental exertion.

Potential Harms To Patients

A review in 2019 identified seven possible types of medical harm that patients with CFS may face, and concluded that biopsychosocial model had a focus that was “too narrow” and did not fit the “patient narrative “. A UK treatment programme of psycho-behavioral interventions was found to fail to meet the needs of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and to lack oversight. A number of different authors have raised concerns about medical harm to patients, particularly resulting from the use of cognitive behavioral therapy as a primary treatment, the use of graded exercise therapy , and delays in diagnosis.

Concerns have also been raised about a clinical trial of the Lightning Process in children, a treatment not approved for use in adults, and a series of publications have been corrected due to inaccurate ethics statements.

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People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Want To Be Taken Seriously And To Receive Personalised Empathetic Care

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex, long-term condition that dramatically limits people’s activities. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis . People with CFS/ME are exhausted for no reason rest does not help and it can take days or weeks to recover from any activity. Some describe ‘brain fog’ and problems with memory, concentration and speech.

Doctors can find it challenging to care for people with this condition. There is no specific test for diagnosing CFS/ME and no ‘gold standard’ effective therapy. Many potential treatments are hotly debated by doctors and patients.

A new study explored patients’ views on the care they would like to receive. Researchers pooled data from 47 studies on patients’ experiences of CFS/ME and their relationships with healthcare professionals. They found that people with CFS/ME wanted a personalised approach, and for doctors to provide a sense of safety to allow them to work through complex issues. But they often felt invisible and dismissed by doctors.

The findings suggest doctors should take time to listen to the views of their patients and work together to find treatments that minimise the impact of the condition on the persons daily life. The researchers say that training could help doctors build successful relationships with people with CFS/ME.

Me/cfs Advisory Committee Report To The Nhmrc Ceo

More proof that chronic fatigue syndrome is a real disease ...

The ME/CFS Advisory Committee Report was finalised in April 2019. This report advises the NHMRC CEO on the current needs for research and clinical guidance for ME/CFS in Australia. A draft of the ME/CFS Report was released for public consultation for a period of 60 days, between 21 December 2018 and 18 February 2019. A summary of the number of responses received for public consultation is provided in the table below.

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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:

  • 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 person’s symptoms rather than the criteria.

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S To Recover From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Amy Myers, MD

Amy Myers, M.D. is a functional medicine physician, trained and certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Myers earned her Doctor of Medicine at the LSU Health Science Center, and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Dr. Myers retired from her functional medicine clinic, Austin UltraHealth, where she served thousands of patients, to empower those who were failed by conventional medicine. Shes a 2x New York Times bestselling author, and the founder and CEO of the health & lifestyle e-commerce brand, Amy Myers MD®.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects up to 2.5 million Americans and for most is a very debilitating illness. Conventional medicine is just now coming around to recognizing CFS as a real syndrome, and it is generally only as a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning they ruled out other diseases and did not find any reason for the fatigue. Symptoms of CFS can be very broad and vague and often include extreme exhaustion, memory loss, headache, muscle fatigue, weakness, and pain lasting at least six months.

Conventional medicines only treatment for CFS is prescription drugs to manage symptoms, including pain medications, sleep aids, and antidepressants.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

‘It massively affects day-to-day life’ – Living with chronic fatigue syndrome

NHMRC established the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Advisory Committee under section 39 of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 to advise the NHMRC Chief Executive Officer on the current needs for research and clinical guidance on ME/CFS. The Committee finalised its report in late April 2019.

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What Can Be Done

If you think you may be struggling with chronic fatigue, it is important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. Symptoms that are particularly important to discuss include:

  • anxiety
  • pain
  • tired

It is also important to tell your healthcare provider about the medications you are taking, including dietary supplements, natural remedies, and complementary treatments. Some medications can exaggerate the symptoms listed above. For example, stimulants , as well as corticosteroids, may cause sleep disturbances. Your healthcare provider can provide guidance on what medications and interventions may restore your sleep, as well as advice on medications to avoid.

It is also important to discuss chronic pain symptoms with your healthcare provider because chronic pain often leads to sleep difficulties, which in turn leads to chronic fatigue. Your healthcare provider may order laboratory tests to determine if organ involvement may be causing chronic fatigue.

For those with arthritis, maintaining a healthy weight and participating in regular exercise may also help reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue.

The Medical Community Is Changing Its Mind On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Why Arent Insurers

A significant number of people diagnosed with Covid-19 report disabling symptoms that persist for months after they have cleared the virus that causes it. As Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has observed, symptoms experienced by post-Covid-19 patients are highly suggestive of those associated with ME/CFS. And like ME/CFS patients before them, many of these Covid-19 long-haulers report that health care providers have been similarly dismissive, automatically attributing their symptoms to stress, depression, and deconditioning, and recommending psychotherapy and exercise.

Medicine can be both wondrously innovative and stubbornly resistant to change. In 1847, the Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis could not convince his fellow doctors in Vienna to wash their hands before delivering babies as a way to prevent often fatal cases of puerperal fever in new mothers. It would be another 30 years before Joseph Lister gained widespread acceptance for his approach to sterilization and aseptic surgery.

Things are better these days, with an average time lag of only 17 years before research evidence reaches clinical practice. The British psychiatrists and others still pushing graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for ME/CFS have done their part to keep the median delay as high as it is.

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What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Me

Firstly, let me say that chronic fatigue syndrome IS a real illness. Although previously a controversial diagnosis, chronic fatigue syndrome is now accepted as a medical condition. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis and systemic exertion intolerance disease .

There is no specific test that can provide a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Rather, your doctor will come to the diagnosis by a process of elimination ruling out other possible illnesses first. And, unfortunately a diagnosis can take some time to obtain as one of the criteria is that you have the fatigue for at least six months.

Also because chronic fatigue syndrome is a multifactorial illness and many other conditions present similar symptoms it can be a difficult illness to diagnose.

Diseases presenting with similar symptoms include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Orthostatic intolerance feeling dizzy or lightheaded when going from lying to standing position.
  • Exertional malaise feeling the effects of exertion up to two days later.
  • Inability to exercise.
  • Sensitivity to light and sound.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesnt go away with rest and cant be explained by an underlying medical condition. It is a long term complex illness that affects many body systems.

Over exertion of either can result in an energy crash putting them in bed for a couple of days or more until they can recover their energy.

First Step Acknowledge You Have An Illness

Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Real? Part 2

My particular form of chronic fatigue syndrome started with adrenal fatigue And it took me many years before I was to acknowledge the progress from adrenal fatigue into something else and to actually admit I was experiencing a real illness that was not only hanging around but was progressively getting worse.

Up until this point of real acknowledgement my attitude was that I had a pesky fatigue thing that I was dealing with. At times I seemed to have a handle on it and I felt a bit better and I would be lulled into the belief that it had simply gone away.

But other times I suffered a relapse that put me flat on my back for several days or weeks at a time. As time went on though the relapses became more frequent and my health kept deteriorating until I was forced to admit I really was ill. At one stage I was bed bound for a period of a month and by then I was in a bad state.

If it was difficult for me to face the fact I had a real illness, it was unrealistic to expect family and friends to understand that what I was dealing with was very real. I was definitely in denial that I was actually ill.

Im sure I am not alone in trying to shrug off my poor health. I didnt exactly hide it from people, but I tried to cope with it on my own. By the time my health really got worse I was living alone in a foreign country so family and friends didnt have any idea how bad I was.

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What Makes Chronic Fatigue A Syndrome

Defining a syndrome isnt straightforward. Perhaps thats why theres so much confusion. A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that happen at the same time.

Take chronic fatigue syndrome for example. CFS consists of a range of symptoms that includes:

  • fatigue,

This post explains how CFS is diagnosed.

A syndrome is NOT specific to any one disease and in some cases could even consist of multiple diseases. Your chronic fatigue could be a syndrome. Or, it could be a symptom of another disease. This is why it is so hard to figure out if your symptoms are part of a syndrome. Add to this the fact that many symptoms can be so wide-ranging that some medical professionals will brush off these complaints as imagined or all in your head.

More often than not, you will not receive the diagnosis for a syndrome until your doctor has eliminated all other possibilities.

Before diagnosing CFS, your doctor will need to ensure:

If all of these check out and you still have fatigue you will receive a CFS diagnosis.

This can be time-consuming and frustrating. Particularly if you receive a diagnosis for a syndrome that doesnt have a known cause or cure. After all of that you may leave your doctors office with another prescription for an antidepressant Even though your condition is real!

Syndromes dont receive the kind of care that diseases do. Which comes in part by a lack of understanding.

What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The onset of chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms can be fairly sudden , or more gradual. CFS should be suspected if the following symptoms are not explained by any other condition, and persist for a minimum of six weeks in adults, or four weeks in children and young people:

  • Extreme tiredness that is worsened by activity, but is not caused by excessive exertion, and is not significantly relieved by rest.
  • Post-exertional malaise : feeling unwell with no energy after activities, with a worsening of symptoms that:
    • Often doesn’t start until hours or days after the activity.
    • Is much greater that you would expect for that particular activity.
    • Has a prolonged recovery time that may last hours, days, weeks or longer.
    • Difficulty concentrating or multitasking.
  • Inability to engage fully in work, educational, social or personal activities.

The diagnosis can only be confirmed after three months of persistent symptoms, but only if the symptoms cannot be explained by any other condition.

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Information For Me/cfs Patients And Carers

Bridges and Pathways –

ME/CFS Australia

U.S Center for Disease control ME/CFS

Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in these documents are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of the National Health and Medical Research Council. The resources are listed alphabetically and as such do not imply any NHMRC preference or priority.

Severity Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

The REAL Symptoms of Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!

Symptoms vary widely in severity and people may have some symptoms more severely than others. However, the following definitions are provided by NICE to provide a guide to the level of impact of symptoms on everyday functioning:

Features of mild chronic fatigue syndromeThese include:

  • You are able to care for yourself and do some light domestic tasks but may have difficulties with mobility.
  • You are usually still able to work or attend education, but to do this you have probably stopped all leisure and social pursuits.
  • You often have reduced hours, take days off and use the weekend to cope with the rest of the week.

Features of moderate chronic fatigue syndromeThese include:

  • You have reduced mobility and are restricted in all activities of daily living.
  • However you may have peaks and troughs in your level of symptoms and ability to do activities.
  • You have usually stopped work or education, and need rest periods, often resting in the afternoon for one or two hours.
  • Your sleep at night is generally of poor quality and disturbed.

Features of severe chronic fatigue syndromeThese include:

  • You are unable to do any activity for yourself, or you can carry out minimal daily tasks only .
  • You have severe cognitive difficulties and may depend on a wheelchair for mobility.
  • You are often unable to leave the house or you have a severe and prolonged after-effect if you do so.
  • You may also spend most of your time in bed and are often extremely sensitive to light and sound.

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What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not known. There are various theories but none has been proved. A popular theory is that a viral infection may trigger the condition. It is well known that tiredness is a symptom that can persist for a short time following certain viral infections. For example, infection with the glandular fever virus or the influenza virus can cause fatigue for several weeks after other symptoms have gone. However, most people recover within a few weeks from the tiredness that follows known viral infections.

Even if a viral infection is a trigger of CFS, it is not clear why symptoms persist when there is no evidence of persisting infection. Also, the symptoms of many people with CFS do not start with a viral infection.

Factors that are thought to contribute to some people developing CFS include:

  • Inherited genetic susceptibility .
  • Exhaustion and mental stress.
  • Depression.
  • A traumatic event such as bereavement, divorce or redundancy.

It is hoped that research will clarify the cause of CFS in the future.

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