Severity Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
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.
Chronic Fatigue Cause No : Undiagnosed Urinary Tract Infection
Although most women associate a urinary tract infection with symptoms such as burning or urgency, sometimes fatigue is the only clue.
In most instances, a UTI is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract, often the result of improper bathroom hygiene . Sexual intercourse can increase the risk because it can push bacteria from the vagina into the urethra.
If your doctor suspects that you have a UTI, your urine will be tested. Treatment is quick and easy, and usually involves an oral antibiotic medication. You can expect the fatigue to lift within a week or less if the antibiotic works effectively.
If your symptoms return, get tested again. Some women have chronic UTIs, which are very difficult to resolve. If this is your case, ask your doctor about preventive care, which may include low dose antibiotics.
Can You Have Both Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia
You can have both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. In fact, many people do.
These conditions are considered cousins, of a sort. They belong to the same family of illnesses, which is called central sensitivity syndromes.
The symptoms are extremely similar. So, it can be difficult to tell if you have just one or both of these conditions.
Until theres better diagnostic testing, it may sometimes be impossible to tell if you have both. It may never even be clear which one you have, either, depending on your specific mix of symptoms.
Fortunately, the treatments are similar. So, you may get the right treatments even if youre not correctly diagnosed.
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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.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
There’s a long list of possible symptoms that someone with chronic 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
- headaches and stomachaches
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Underactive Thyroid And Fatigue
Symptoms: Extreme fatigue, sluggishness, feeling run-down, depression, cold intolerance, weight gain
The problem may be a slow or underactive thyroid. This is known as hypothyroidism. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of your neck. It helps set the rate of metabolism, which is the rate at which the body uses energy.
According to the American Thyroid Foundation, about 17% of all women will have a thyroid disorder by age 60. And most won’t know it. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s stops the gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to work the way it should. The result is hypothyroidism, or a slow metabolism.
Blood tests known as T3 and T4 will detect thyroid hormones. If these hormones are low, synthetic hormones can bring you up to speed, and you should begin to feel better fairly rapidly.
Psychological Me/cfs Symptoms List
Patients are often told that they have depression or anxiety and that there is nothing wrong with them physically. However, whilst they may be experiencing depressive thoughts and anxiety, their CFS symptoms are real of course. So unfortunately, sometimes their symptoms are misattributed to a mental illness when in fact they are experiencing a real physical illness.
This however does not mean that people experiencing ME/CFS dont have co-morbid mental illness, they often do. So whilst the list of physical CFS symptoms is extensive, there can also be a range of psychological symptoms in CFS. This sometimes leads to other mental health diagnosis.
Here are some of the common psychological symptoms experienced:
- mood swings
- emotional flattening
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What Else Should I Know
- Strong emotions can be a part of the illness, so it’s important to recognize and express your feelings. Feelings like sadness, anger, and frustration are completely normal and it’s important to acknowledge how you feel and recognize that it’s not your fault. Recognizing emotions can help you figure out what’s behind your feelings and help you manage problems.
- It can help to keep a daily diary of feelings and energy highs and lows. This also can let you share information that might help your doctor. You can also track trends for example, if your energy is high at one time of day and low at another that will help you figure out when to exercise or do other activities.
- Give yourself more time to do things, especially activities that take concentration or physical exertion.
- Get support from family, teachers, and friends.
- Get information about CFS from reliable sources. There’s a lot of misinformation and confusion about this disease. So it’s important to know and trust your sources.
Most important, don’t give up. Having chronic fatigue syndrome can be hard. But for most people, the symptoms are most severe in the beginning. Later, they may come and go. Teens with CFS generally get better faster and recover more completely than adults do. Most teens get partial or full recovery within 5 years after symptoms began.
Doctor’s Notes On Fatigue
Fatigue is a nonspecific feeling of tiredness, lack of energy, or listlessness. It is a symptom that can accompany a wide variety of medical conditions. Possible medical causes of fatigue include infections, injury, malnutrition, inflammatory conditions, connective tissue disorders, disorders of bone and muscle, gastrointestinal problems and disorders, cancers, and psychological or emotional conditions, among others.
Signs and symptoms that can be associated with fatigue are as varied as the conditions that cause fatigue. Associated symptoms can include pain, weakness, joint pain, limited range of motion, headache, weight loss, enlarged lymph nodes, depression, agitation, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Specific infections associated with fatigue may cause sore throat, shortness of breath, cough, painful urination, blood in the urine, or enlargement of the tonsils, among other symptoms.
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What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
People with chronic fatigue syndrome experience persistent fatigue lasting longer than six months that does not get better with rest. They have an abnormal lack of energy and sometimes are confined to bed. In fact, the fatigue of patients with ME/CFS is so severe that they must reduce their usual activities by 50%. The disorder can negatively impact everything in daily life, from taking a shower to holding a job.
For some people with ME/CFS, day-to-day activities, both physical and mental, can worsen the fatigue, even if these activities would not have been a problem before the onset of the syndrome. The medical term for this experience is post-exertional malaise . People who experience ME/CFS describe the worsening fatigue as a crash or relapse.
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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Chronic Fatigue Cause No : Caffeine Overload
Many of us grab an espresso, latte, or cola for a quick burst of energy, but for some women, caffeine has the opposite effect.
In an article published in the journal US Pharmacist, W. Stephen Pray, PhD, RPh, reports that caffeine is a stimulant, but if you take too much, the tables can turn.
“In some patients, continued abuse results in fatigue,” says Pray. And if you think this means you simply require more caffeine to get the kick, this isn’t the case. “Any attempts to solve the problem by increasing caffeine intake causes the fatigue to worsen,” he says.
The solution to caffeine overload? Eliminate as much caffeine from your diet as possible. This means not only cutting out coffee. Chocolate, tea, soda, and even some over-the-counter and prescription medications also contain caffeine and could be causing unexplained fatigue.
Chronic Fatigue Cause No : Depression
Sometimes depression is at the root of fatigue. Depression affects twice as many women as men and often runs in families, starting between the ages of 15 and 30. Women can also get postpartum depression after the birth of a baby. Some people get seasonal affective disorder in the winter with feelings of fatigue and sadness. Depression is also one part of bipolar disorder.
According to Ronald Fieve, MD, psychopharmacologist and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, mood is a dominant aspect of life. In his book, Bipolar II, Fieve explains that mood disorders are a large group of psychiatric conditions. Abnormal moods and physical disturbances — like changes in eating habits, sleep patterns and body motion, either speeded up or slowed down — dominate the picture.
While feeling low from time to time is normal,major depression needs medical treatment it is a risk factor for suicide. This medical problem is usually recurrent, with repeated depressive episodes. With major depression, you might be in a depressed mood most of the day with little interest in normal activities, Fieve says. “Along with feelings of fatigue, you may eat too much or too little, over- or under-sleep, feel hopeless and worthless, and have other serious symptoms.”
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I Don’t Have Insurance How Can The Affordable Care Act Help Me
If you’re uninsured or have been denied coverage in the past for ME/CFS, the Health Insurance Marketplace may be able to provide you with access to affordable coverage. With health insurance plans in the Marketplace, you can no longer be refused coverage just because you have a pre-existing health condition. Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program also can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more because of a health condition. They also can’t charge women more than men. Learn more about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace at Healthcare.gov.
Chroniuc Fatigue Cause No : Undiagnosed Heart Disease
If you find yourself becoming exhausted after activity that used to be easy, it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease.
According to Nieca Goldberg, MD, director of the NYU Medical Center Women’s Heart Program and associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, when overwhelming fatigue sets in after ordinary tasks — such as vacuuming the house, doing yard work, or commuting from work each day — your heart may be sending out an SOS that it needs medical attention.
“This doesn’t mean that you should panic every time you yawn,” says Goldberg. “Most of the time, fatigue is not the first sign of heart disease, and it’s usually linked to something far less serious.”
At the same time, Goldberg points out that heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. “If fatigue following activity is significant, and no other possible reason comes to mind, see your doctor for a checkup,” she advises. If your fatigue is related to your heart, medication or treatment procedures can usually help correct the problem, reduce the fatigue, and restore your energy.
Harris H. McIlwain, MD, rheumatologist, adjunct professor, Universityof South Florida, Tampa author, TheFibromyalgia Handbook, 3rdEdition.
Ronald R. Fieve, MD, psychopharmacologist, professor of clinical psychiatry,Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York City author, Bipolar II.
W. Stephen Pray, PhD, RPh, Southwestern Oklahoma State University,Weatherford, Okla.
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Southern Cross Medical Library
The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.
What Can I Do To Cope With Me/cfs
Talking about your feelings with a friend or family member can help. Sometimes it also helps to talk with people who are going through the same thing. Consider joining an ME/CFS support group. See the “ME/CFS Organizations” section at the end of this fact sheet for a list of organizations that offer additional information on ME/CFS and can help you find ME/CFS support groups.
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The Danger Of Misattribution Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
With so many symptoms and so many co-morbid diagnoses, patients often experience diagnosis fatigue where they no longer get their symptoms investigated and simply see them as just another Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptom.
So whilst many people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome stop panicking every time they get symptoms that look like some other major and serious disease, it is all too easy to become complacent.
Its absolutely essential that any worsening of symptoms or new symptoms be reported to your doctor so that these can be appropriately diagnosed and treated where possible.
But when you realise that CFS affects every major system of the body, including the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, cardiovascular system and even your cellular functions and metabolism, then its easy to see how so many symptoms and different illnesses can occur.
What Are The Symptoms/warning Signs Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
In order to be diagnosed with CFS a patient must satisfy two criteria. Severe chronic fatigue must have lasted at least six months with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnoses. Also, a person must concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration sore throat tender lymph nodes muscle pain multi-joint pain without swelling or redness headaches of a new type, pattern or severity unrefreshing sleep and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours. The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during six or more consecutive months and must not have predated the fatigue.
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How Do Doctors Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Doctors treat your symptoms, including pain, depression, and not being able to sleep. They also try:
Therapy to help you focus on positive thoughts and getting better
A graded exercise program, in which you slowly add activities to your daily routine, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or jogging
Usually the symptoms get better over time, but it may take years or they may not go away completely.
Fatigue’s Impact On Chronic Illnesses
Between 40% and 74% percent of patients with chronic diseases suffer from fatigue. Although all chronic diseases consist of different variations of symptoms and limitations, the experience of fatigue is usually similar across illnesses. Many patients reported fatigue as one of the most disabling aspects of their disease.
Even though it is true that many individuals with chronic illnesses are affected by peripheral fatigue, however, central fatigue most commonly abides in every chronic disease. Central fatigue implies abnormalities in neurotransmitters within the central nervous system.In addition, it plays a significant role in chronic inflammatory conditions.
Inflammation is associated with almost every ailment this includes cancers, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis , inflammatory bowel diseases , arthritis, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome , psychiatric disorder, and CFS.
Chronic inflammatory conditions are associated with large amounts of inflammation within the body. Inflammation is suspected to be a possible link to fatigue and mood disorders such as depression because they both present high inflammatory markers and often coexist.
When examining fatigue across five different chronic illnesses , researchers “found that fatigue was characterized by severe energy depletion.”
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