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
- Flu-like symptoms, including swollen lymph nodes , headaches, and joint pain
- Cognitive difficulties, including attention and memory problems
- Muscle aches
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.
Where Can I Get Support
ME/CFS can have a significant emotional and financial impact on your life. A lack of understanding and awareness about ME/CFS means patients can experience disbelief, and even discrimination, from friends, family, health and social care professionals and employers.
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. They also offer resources and services for children and young people affected by ME/CFS and their families.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Treatments
Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrom. But that doesnt mean you are going to sit idle and do nothing about it while suffering silently. Since every person has their own individual problems and symptoms, not all forms of treatment are going to be applicable to everyone universally.
Moreover, you can always take steps and opt for a type of chronic fatigue syndrome treatment that can prove to be beneficial to your health. Scroll down and find out all the ways you can treat chronic fatigue syndrome in your body!
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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.
What Is It Like Living With Me/cfs
The severity of ME/CFS varies greatly from patient to patient, with some people able to maintain fairly active lives. For others, ME/CFS has a profound impact. About 25 percent of people with ME/CFS are housebound or bedbound as a result of their illness. For many, there is often a pattern of relapse and remission. Most symptoms are invisible to others, which makes it difficult for family members, friends, and the public to understand the challenges of the disease.
We know its so important to share personal experiences to increase understanding of ME/CFS. Visit our Humans of M.E. story archive to read and share your stories of ME/CFS.
It feels like I always have the flu, only much worse. It feels like the world is always moving, and I cant find my bearings.Rob P.
When my symptoms first occurred, I was diagnosed with the flu during June, July, and August during off-flu season. Doctors suspected that I was a hypochondriac.Conella B.
Sometimes it feels as if my body is shutting down on me. I think about going to the emergency room, not even able to make it to the car if I decide to go. I rarely decide to anyway, because every time I ever have gone for my invisible illnesses, they have never once been able to help me in any way.Kelly S.
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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.
What Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is persistent and crippling fatigue lasting 6 months or longer. People living with ME/CFS often experience other symptoms, like unrefreshing sleep and muscle aches. The condition is also sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome.
Doctors do not know what causes ME/CFS, and there is no cure. You may be able to manage symptoms with cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise, and medications, like antidepressants and sleep aids. The goal of treatment is to make symptoms as manageable as possible to increase your quality of life.
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Etiology Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Etiology of CFS is unknown. No infectious, hormonal, immunologic, or psychiatric cause has been established. Among the many proposed infectious causes, Epstein-Barr virus, Lyme disease, candidiasis, and cytomegalovirus have been proven not to cause CFS. Similarly, there are no allergic markers and no immunosuppression.
Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 infection COVID-19 COVID-19 is an acute, sometimes severe, respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 was first reported in late 2019 in Wuhan, China and has since spread extensively… read more have become “long-haulers” with persistent symptoms. Some of these symptoms result from organ damage from the infection and/or treatment, and others may be from posttraumatic stress disorder Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Posttraumatic stress disorder is recurring, intrusive recollections of an overwhelming traumatic event recollections last > 1 month and begin within 6 months of the event. The pathophysiology… read more . In addition, in some patients COVID-19 seems to trigger typical CFS, but further study is needed to confirm this association and determine causality.
What To Expect At Your Providers Office
There is no laboratory test for chronic fatigue syndrome. But your health care provider may use tests to rule out other illnesses. Your provider will go over your symptoms, check your medical history, and do a physical examination.
If you have CFS, your provider may prescribe drugs to treat your symptoms, or suggest herbs, vitamins, or dietary changes to help you. Get plenty of rest, exercise regularly, and learn to pace yourself. Often this combination of treatments will help you get better.
If the usual treatments do not work, your provider may check for other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to those of CFS.
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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There are many described therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome. Because the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, treatment programs are directed at relief of symptoms rather than cure. The goal is to regain some level of preexisting function and well-being. With this in mind, many people with CFS do not quickly return to a satisfactory level of function. People who expect a prompt recovery and do not experience it may have worsening CFS symptoms because they work too hard, become frustrated, and become less responsive to rehabilitation programs.
Always talk to your doctor about any treatment decisions for CFS. You and your doctor together will develop a treatment program individually tailored to your needs. The treatment program should be based on your overall medical condition and current symptoms and should be modified over time as your symptoms change. This requires regular follow-up visits to your doctor to monitor changes in your condition. Currently, most doctors use a combination of the therapies discussed below.
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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New Hope For Those With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
As many as four million Americans are thought to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, a disease characterized by symptoms that include persistent lethargy, headaches, muscle pain, mental fogginess, and sleep problems but the illness, once dismissed as the yuppie flu, has long frustrated scientists seeking to explain its etiology. To date, there has been no cure or treatment protocol, or even a way to test for the syndrome, but now a breakthrough by a team of scientists led by Columbia epidemiologist Mady Hornig may provide clinicians with a way to diagnose and treat chronic fatigue in its early stages.
In a study comparing blood samples from hundreds of people with chronic fatigue syndrome to those from healthy counterparts, the scientists found differences that support a popular hypothesis about the syndromes cause: that it occurs when the immune system, in the course of fighting off an acute infection, gets stuck in high gear and eventually wears itself out. The evidence? People in the early stages of chronic fatigue syndrome have elevated levels of immune-system messenger chemicals called cytokines, which indicate an active immunological response, while those who have been ill for three years or longer have unusually low levels of these cytokines.
Identify Treatments Youve Tried
In addition to tracking the symptoms you have experienced, keep a list of treatments you have tried. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a medications and supplements list you can use to track your medications, their dosage, how well they help, and if you experienced side effects. Write a separate list of other treatments you have tried beyond medications and supplements, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, exercise, acupuncture, or meditation.
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Causes Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Despite considerable research, the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown. Controversy exists as to whether there is a single cause or many causes and whether the cause is physical or mental, but either way the symptoms are very real to the person.
Some researchers believe the syndrome ultimately will prove to have several causes, including genetic predisposition and exposure to microbes, toxins, and other physical and emotional factors.
Concluding Remarks And Future Directions
This review suggests that the beneficial effects of nutritional supplements are not random, but that their action is due to the removal of one of the causes of the CFS/ME. There is evidence that supplements may benefit CFS/ME patients therefore, nutritional supplements should be recommended, at least in CFS/ME patients with a biochemically proven deficiency. Studies investigating nutritional interventions in CFS/ME remain very limited most studies have had small sample sizes, and lacked long term followup . Despite the relative consistency in case definition, the studies differed with regard to inclusion and exclusion criteria and reporting participants’ sociodemographic characteristics and clinical features . This heterogeneity in study design makes the application of the findings to the clinical setting more difficult. Therefore, longerterm RCTs in homogeneous populations that use more specific case criteria are now warranted.
In agreement with several previous studies, pacing was consistently shown to be the most helpful treatment, CBT was useful for some patients but not all for all graded training may cause the condition to worsen. However, the results must be interpreted with care, as the participants are not a representative sample.
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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.
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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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Causes
Despite extensive research, the underlying cause of CFS remains unknown. Some researchers believe that the condition will eventually be shown to be a complex interplay of genetic, infectious, and environmental factors.
- Immunological factors: A variety of immune system abnormalities have been demonstrated in CFS.
- Hormones: Levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, have been found to be consistently lower in people with CFS.
- Infections: CFS can follow infection with Epstein-Barr virus , and possibly other viruses, but it is not currently thought that all causes of CFS are due to infection or that CFS is due to ongoing viral infection.
- Genetic predisposition: CFS has been found to run in families, suggesting a possible common genetic predisposition.
- Psychosocial factors: A history of trauma has also been suggested as contributing to CFS. Others have suggested that CFS may be related to manifestations of depression, anxiety, or somatic symptom disorder.
The Wrong Way To Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Now you know the conventional medical therapies that are best suited to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. A lot of them dont have great research to support their use. So, be sure to have an in-depth discussion with your doctor. Discuss whether the potential side effects of the medication are worth it for the potential benefits.
There are other treatments that are often prescribed in conventional medical settings that are known to not be effective. And they may even have dangerous side effects. Below, I detail the conventional treatments of chronic fatigue that need to be avoided. These include:
- Graded exercise therapy
- Sleeping pills
Graded exercise therapy
Graded exercise therapy or GET as its commonly referred to is an exercise plan specifically for those with chronic fatigue syndrome. Most patients with CFS report something known a post-exertional malaise this is a feeling of exhaustion or tiredness following exercise/activity. GET was developed in hopes to improve CFS patients resilience to exercise programs.
Graded exercise therapy remains a common conventional treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. Even though patients typically remark that GET makes their symptoms worse. Thankfully, new research confirmed what CFS sufferers had been saying all along GET does not work. And it may actually make your fatigue worse.
Do not include GET in your chronic fatigue treatment. Instead, follow the recommendations I lay out for exercising with fatigue here, here, and here.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Before onset of CFS, most patients are highly functioning and successful.
Onset is usually abrupt, often following a psychologically or medically stressful event. Many patients report an initial viral-like illness with swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, fever, and upper respiratory symptoms. The initial syndrome resolves but seems to trigger protracted severe fatigue, which interferes with daily activities and typically worsens with exertion but is alleviated poorly or not at all by rest. Patients often also have disturbances of sleep and cognition, such as memory problems, “foggy thinking,” hypersomnolence, and a feeling of having had unrefreshing sleep. Important general characteristics are diffuse pains and sleep problems.
The physical examination is normal, with no objective signs of muscle weakness, arthritis, neuropathy, or organomegaly. However, some patients have low-grade fever, nonexudative pharyngitis, and/or palpable or tender lymph nodes.
Because patients typically appear healthy, friends, family, and even health care practitioners sometimes express skepticism about their condition, which can worsen the frustration and/or depression patients often feel about their poorly understood disorder.