What Is The Latest Research On Me/cfs
Today, we have a better understanding of ME/CFS, but researchers are still searching for the cause. ME/CFS is sometimes seen in members of the same family, perhaps because of a genetic link. Researchers are also testing a variety of treatments for ME/CFS, including anti-viral medications and medications that affect the immune system.
Researchers also are looking at ways to help health care providers identify and diagnose ME/CFS more quickly. HHS currently supports a study led by the Institute of Medicine to recommend improved and updated criteria to help physicians make a diagnosis of ME/CFS. The IOM’s recommendations may also guide future research.
Your Brain Feels Sluggish
Some people with chronic fatigue experience some “cognitive impairment,” according to the IOM panel. “Mostly what happens is they have a delay in their ability to process information,” said Keller. “They can still process information, but they can’t do it quickly.” They may also have blips in their short-term memory, she added.
These problems with mental processeswhich may also include difficulty paying attention, problem solving, and planningcan make it difficult to hold down a job, or interact in social situations. And the issues get worse when you’re stressed, or you’ve over-exerted yourself. Unsurprisingly, they can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness.
Fatigue Never Goes Away
Like others with chronic fatigue, I have better and worse days. But chronic means that fatigue doesnt go away with time or treatment. Ive probably spent thousands of dollars over the last decade over-caffeinating myself and trying various exercise regimens, diets, vitamins and supplements, and other products claiming to crush fatigue with shiny marketing messages and bogus health claims.
Eating healthy and regular exercise help to some degree but theyre not a cure-all. Im still perpetually tired.
When I do have short moments of clarity, I know fatigue is always waiting in the wings. If I try to do something that I used to take for granted something as ordinary as laundry or emptying the dishwasher fatigue can rush in and leave me bedridden or stuck on the couch for the rest of the day or even up to a week.
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Diagnosis And Treatment For Me/cfs
Currently, there is no single test to diagnose ME/CFS. Doctors make a diagnosis by excluding all other illnesses that might be causing symptoms and following accepted diagnostic criteria. The persons results from routine medical tests will often be normal, but additional tests may show abnormalities.
Many Patients With Psoriatic Arthritis Consider Fatigue To Be One Of The Most Problematic Symptoms After Joint Pain Being Able To Identify And Describe What Fatigue Feels Like May Help Both Loved Ones And Health Care Providers Better Understand Your Experience
Check out Fight Back Against Fatigue: A Psoriatic Arthritis Patients Guidefor more information on this topic.
Wiped out. Utterly exhausted. Like youre coming down with the flu. Unable to get your head above water. Pumping gas, but the gas tank is empty.
The fatigue that people with psoriatic arthritis have is real and it interferes tremendously with daily life.
In fact, nearly 50 percent of patients with psoriatic arthritis report high levels of fatigue and consider fatigue a high-ranking problem, after joint pain and before skin issues, according to a 2016 study published in the journal Joint Bone Spine.
If you live with fatigue from psoriatic arthritis, we dont have to tell you what it feels like. However, hearing from other people with PsA who are also wrestling with this nagging, persistent feeling of exhaustion can help you feel less alone.
Talking about what fatigue feels like can also help you explain to loved ones why you arent able to do certain activities or why you turn down invitations or leave things early. Perhaps, most importantly, it can help you figure out if you need to talk to your health care provider to get better control of your fatigue.
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Is It Possible That I Have Pots And Was Incorrectly Diagnosed
This is entirely possible. Given how common POTS symptoms are and how unfamiliar many doctors are with this condition, diagnostic mishaps happen. POTS is frequently misidentified as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, anxiety disorder, ADHD, irritable bowel syndrome, myositis, etc. It is also possible that you have both POTS and one of these conditions, which may complicate the diagnosis. Sometimes people with POTS are told that its all in your head, implying that the cause of their symptoms is psychological. If you feel like something is physically wrong, dont hesitate to seek a second, and even a third or fourth opinion.
You Have Other Symptoms Too
There are several additional complaints that chronic fatigue patients report, though less frequently. “I would say more often than not people have gastrointestinal issues,” said Snell. Others on the list include a sore throat, tender lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, problems in the genitourinary system , and sensitivity to certain drugs, foods, chemicals, or other stimuli.
If you recognize the signs of chronic fatigue in yourselfespecially the severe exhaustion, post-exertional malaise, and unrefreshing sleeptalk to your healthcare provider. If you do have the disorder, the sooner you’re diagnosed, the sooner you can get the treatment you need to feel better.
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Facts About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- The CDC estimates up to 2.5 million Americans have ME/CFS.
- Anyone can get it, including children and teens.
- It’s most common in women in their 40s and 50s.
- Women are more likely to develop it than men.
- Most cases are mild or moderate.
- About 1 in 4 people with the condition have severe symptoms.
If you have mild ME/CFS, you can probably manage on your own. Moderate symptoms can make it hard for you to move around. For example, you might need to sleep in the afternoons.
Severe symptoms can impact your quality of life and abilities as badly as if you had lupus, heart disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.
You Feel Even Worse When You Push Your Limits
The technical term is post-exertional malaise. It means that when you put more stress on your body than it can handle, your symptoms flare. ” lymph nodes might swell up,” said Keller, “or they might have joint pain, or pain in other areas.”
The authors of the IOM report quote one patient who described it like this: “When I do any activity that goes beyond what I can doI literally collapsemy body is in major pain. It hurts to lay in bed, it hurts to think, I can’t hardly talkI can’t find the words. I feel my insides are at war.”
It may take a full day to recover, or longer.
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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
- emotional stress
- low blood pressure
Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, but it’s most common in people in their forties or fifties. It’s 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 might be because the tendency to develop CFS is genetic, but more research is needed to see if this is true.
Who Are At Risk Of Developing Chronic Fatigue
CDC reports roughly 2.5 million cases of chronic fatigue syndrome. However, they also note that some cases remain unaccounted for because some people are undiagnosed. Additionally, some CFS patients also have pre-existing medical problems, so they easily dismiss their condition as a symptom.
Usually, patients coming in for upper cervical care for chronic fatigue relief are in their 40s to 50s. Thats because this age group tends to be more susceptible to developing such a condition. However, sometimes, it can also occur in children and young adults.
Chronic fatigue also tends to be more common among women. In fact, research reveals that there is a 4:1 ratio of female CFS patients against males, and women tend to experience more pain.
Besides sex and age, here are other risk factors of CFS:
- Family history of chronic fatigue
- Exposure to physical or mental trauma
- Pre-existing mental conditions such as anxiety and depression
- Infection such as stomach bug or flu
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Possible Causes And Risk Factors Involved With Cfs
Most of the people who have CFS report getting bacterial or viral infections such as the flu before developing the symptoms of CFS. Additionally, 1 in 10 people who were infected with Epstein-Barr virus, Fibromyalgia, or Coxiella burnetii have developed a set of CFS symptoms. Also, people with severe symptoms of Epstein-Barr virus, Fibromyalgia, and Coxiella burnetii are more likely to develop CFS than those with milder symptoms. However, not all individuals who have CFS reported having bacterial or viral infections before chronic fatigue.
Another potential risk factor is a weak immune system, specifically, how ones immune system responds to infectious diseases or stress. Going to the next level, CFS shares some features of autoimmune illnesses. An autoimmune illness is a condition where the immune system attacks healthy tissues in its own body, like in rheumatoid arthritis. Both extreme stress and hormonal changes are reported in people before showing CFS symptoms. A few patients with CFS have lower levels of cortisol than healthy people, but doctors havent yet concluded whether this is significant, either, as it is still within the normal range. There may also be a genetic link with some studies on twins and families indicating that genes and environment might play a role in developing CFS. However, more research needs to be done as specific genes and environmental factors are not found yet.
How Will Me/cfs Affect My Quality Of Life
Not everyone will experience the same symptoms so itâs important not to compare people with ME/CFS. People with ME/CFS can have very different experiences of the condition and how long their symptoms last.
The impact of symptoms can be:
As symptoms change over time so does the impact they have on peopleâs lives.
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What A Crash Looks Like
There is a delay between the trigger and the onset of a crash. The crash happens 12 to 72 hours after cognitive or physical exertion. It’s a distinct change in someones overall functionality, Yellman said.
“Post exertional malaise is when they wake up the next day and they have a sore throat and a headache, flu-like symptoms, their cognition isnt the same. They cant listen to music, watch TV or read anything without losing concentration,” said Yellman. “Its difficult to stand up without getting dizzy, short of breath or lightheaded.”
Manalapan resident Trisha Steefel Fisher, 38, says her crashes feel like shes been hit by a truck. When it happens, her arms feel as if they are too heavy to lift.
My brain scrambles to find the right words and not difficult words, said Fisher, an assistant treasurer of a multibillion dollar company in Manhattan. Words as simple and common as ketchup are hard for Fisher to recall during a crash.
Like Strazza, Fishers ME/CFS came after a bout of Epstein Barr, one of the most common human viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and commonly affiliated with mononucleosis. Shes had to adjust her life to it. For instance, the mother of two takes public transportation to avoid the risk of a crash while driving.
I have to delegate a lot of the mothering to my husband and my mom,” she said. “My kids know that if they want to spend time with Mommy, they have to pick an activity that is sedentary.
How Fatigue Can Affect Your Daily Life
Fatigue can be very frustrating. You and your relatives might underestimate how much it can affect daily life.
Everyday life can be hard work and you might not have the energy to cook, clean, bathe or go shopping. You might not even feel up to a chat. Things that you used to find second nature or easy are now a task and can be hard work.
You and your doctor can sometimes overlook fatigue, especially if you have other side effects. Its important to tell your doctor or nurse about how youre coping day to day and if you are struggling.
Fatigue can affect the way you feel about yourself and your relationships with other people. You can feel very down and not want to go out or be with people which can be hard for them to understand.
You might have to stop working or cut down your hours. This can affect how much money you have.
You might feel like fatigue is a constant reminder of your cancer and this can be hard to accept.
You might worry that because you feel so tired all the time your cancer could be getting worse. But it is more likely to be a side effect of treatment, or due to the fact that cancer can cause fatigue.
Fatigue is very real and can have a big impact on your life. Let your doctor or nurse know if you think you have symptoms of fatigue. There are ways of managing it and your medical team will try to help you.
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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.
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.
Try to keep a positive approach to getting well and to not look for the reason why you have CFS. People who take action and stay positive can have a good outcome.
You also can find more information and support online at:
So What Does Chronic Fatigue Feel Like
Sometimes, chronic fatigue feels like being covered in tar from head to toe. Limbs are heavy and there is a weight that is impossible to shift, even when doing the most menial of activities.
It may feel as if someone is stabbing my legs with a small knife. Or, it can be a strange numbing sensation, like my leg is about to crack open.
Most days it feels like staring at the sun or walking out into bright daylight, except this happens while indoors. I can spend the day unable to open my eyes completely.
Occasionally, its close to that sweet spot between being drunk and hungover, except no cocktail happy hour preceded it.
On most days, its like climbing up a steep hill carrying a baby elephant. I could go on
Most doctors seem to overlook fatigue when treating women with endometriosis. As a patient, all I can do is stop fighting the fatigue and lie down, yet my body refuses to recharge, no matter how much I sleep. What I could really do with is a solution or a line of treatment. Maybe just some advice on what steps I can take to carry on with my life. Last week, I lost three days of work because I could barely do anything other than remain horizontal and close my eyes.
Chronic fatigue is life-altering and needs specific attention. Having a health professional perform a subtle yet quite noticeable eye roll or barely acknowledge us when we mention this very real symptom should be a thing of the past.
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You Dont Have An Appetite
In more severe cases of COVID-19, Khabbaza says patients often have more serious delirium that accompanies their fatigue. This, he says, may be a result of a lack of appetiteanother symptom that can help you distinguish if your fatigue is being caused by COVID. People may also have lower appetites so their nutritional status might not be great, they might be sleeping too little or too much, which can affect how your mind is wired, Khabbaza says. And for more helpful information delivered to your inbox, .