Signs You Have Chronic Fatigue
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as CSF, is a complex illness that affects approximately 17 to 24 million people each year. It can cause a wide array of symptoms, which can vary from person to person.
CFS is more than just being tired. It involves a feeling of ongoing fatigue, feeling unrefreshed even after sleeping and a variety of symptoms that worsen after physical activity. Myalgic encephalomyelitis, or CSF, cannot be diagnosed with a blood test. Diagnosis is made based on a persons symptoms, overall presentation and exclusion of other illnesses.
While some people who have CSF rely on medical modalities and treatment to alleviate their oftentimes painful symptoms, others may use a more holistic approach for symptom management.
How Does Chronic Fatigue Impact A Persons Life
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or CFS is severe fatigue that lasts for six months or more. Even during resting periods, it may not treat a person diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Hence, this complex medical illness often relies on treating the symptoms rather than the disease itself. This disorder is also called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS, which may disable a person altogether. There are significant consequences of overlooking the symptoms of chronic fatigue. Mostly, there are times when fatigue may look like daytime tiredness or sleepiness. Yet, the first sign of continuous pain and lethargy needs a general physician for further examination and diagnosis.
Causes Of Cancer Fatigue
Someone with cancer may experience fatigue for several reasons.
With leukemia and lymphoma, cancer cells in the bone marrow can interfere with the normal production of blood cells. This can lead to anemia, and anemia can then lead to fatigue.
Colon cancer and stomach cancer can cause anemia through blood loss in the bowels, likewise leading to fatigue.
The metabolic processes of tumors can also contribute to fatigue. Cancer cells aggressively compete for nourishment with normal cells.
Some cancers lead to fatigue by disrupting normal hormone functioning. Others secrete substances known as cytokines, which in turn can cause fatigue.
Fatigue has many causes besides cancer, though. In that respect, fatigue accompanied by unintentional weight loss is more concerning than fatigue alone.
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Treatment Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Acknowledgment of patient’s symptoms
Sometimes graded exercise, limited to avoid a setback
Drugs for depression, sleep, or pain if indicated
To provide effective care to patients with CFS, physicians must acknowledge and accept the validity of patients’ symptoms. Whatever the underlying cause, these patients are not malingerers but are suffering and strongly desire a return to their previous state of health. For successful management patients need to accept and accommodate their disability, focusing on what they can still do instead of lamenting what they cannot do.
If these measures are ineffective, hypnotic drugs and/or referral to a sleep specialist may be necessary. Patients with pain widespread tenderness of muscles, areas around tendon insertions… read more ) can be treated using a number of drugs such as pregabalin, duloxetine, amitriptyline, or gabapentin. Physical therapy is also often helpful. Treatment for orthostatic hypotension Treatment Orthostatic hypotension is an excessive fall in blood pressure when an upright position is assumed. The consensus definition is a drop of > 20 mm Hg systolic, 10 mm Hg diastolic… read more may also be helpful.
Unproven or disproven treatments, such as antivirals, immunosuppressants, elimination diets, and amalgam extractions, should be avoided.
How Does German Measles Affect Pregnant Women
When a woman contracts German measles during pregnancy, the virus can be passed on to her developing baby through her bloodstream. This is called congenital rubella syndrome. Congenital rubella syndrome is a serious health concern, as it can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. It can also cause birth defects in babies who are carried to term, including:
- delayed growth
- poorly functioning organs
Women of childbearing age should have their immunity to rubella tested before becoming pregnant. If a vaccine is needed, its important to get it at least 28 days before trying to conceive.
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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
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.
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Talk To Your Doctor About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you suspect you may have ME/CFS, consult your doctor. You might keep an activity log or health journal to note changes in your wellbeing and help your physician understand your situation. With the aid of your physician, you can eliminate other possible causes of your fatigue. Then, together you can develop a plan for treatment and relief of symptoms.
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Accurate Diagnosis Is Key
If your chronic fatigue symptoms are caused by Lyme disease or another tick-borne illness, it is crucial that you get the right diagnosis. The bacterial infection requires its own treatment including antibiotics and often other treatments, depending on the severity or length of illness and will not be addressed through treating the fatigue alone. Learn more about the testing for Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases with IGeneX today.
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How Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treated
Treatment is determined by your healthcare provider and based on:
- Your overall health and medical history
- Extent of the condition
- Your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition
- Your opinion or preference
- Medicine, including corticosteroids, antidepressants, and others
- Light-intensity aerobic exercise
- Dietary supplements and herbal preparations
- Psychotherapy and supportive counseling
Management Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
Rest and sleep in CFSRest periods in the daily routine are part of management strategies for all people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Relaxation techniques at the beginning of each rest period can be helpful. Try to balance the need for rest during the day against how you are sleeping at night. Introduce changes to your sleep pattern gradually.
Physical functioning and mobility problems in CFSStrategies to help maintain and prevent deterioration of your physical function and mobility need to be carried out in small amounts and spread out throughout the day. Strategies should include joint mobility, muscle flexibility, balance, postural and positional support, muscle function, bone health and cardiovascular health.
Care and support plans in relation to physical functioning and mobility may include bed mobility, moving from lying to sitting to standing, transferring from bed to chair, using mobility aids, walking, joint mobility, muscle stretching, muscle strength, balance, and going up and down stairs.
People with CFS may experience intolerance of changing position, such as when first standing up. This may include postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome . You may need to be refered to a specialist if your symptoms are severe or worsening, or there are concerns that another condition may be the cause.
Pain in CFSChronic pain is commonly associated with CFS. You may need referral to specialist pain services if appropriate.
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How Can My Doctor Manage Fatigue
To find out what is causing your fatigue, your healthcare provider will ask questions about your lifestyle and medications and will conduct a physical examination. They might order some lab tests to test blood and urine. If you are a woman of child-bearing age, your provider will probably order a pregnancy test.
To relieve fatigue, your provider will treat the condition or disorder thatâs causing it. Depending on your health, your treatment plan may include a combination of medication, exercise, or therapy. If youâre taking a medication that makes you feel exhausted, talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of stopping the medication or trying another one.
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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Heart Disease And Fatigue
Symptoms: Fatigue from an activity that should be easy
If youre exhausted after an activity that used to be easy — for example, walking up the steps — it may be time to talk to your doctor about the possibility of heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women. If your fatigue is related to your heart, medication or treatments can usually help correct the problem, cut the fatigue, and restore your energy.
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.
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Throw Her A Bone Now And Then
It might feel like your MIL is needy at times. She wants to rest, she doesnt want to dig the weeds today, work is too stressful for her, she wants to be in bed no later than 8:00 p.m. The list goes on and on. For goodness sake, throw her bone now and then! No. Scratch that. Throw her all the bones she wants and then some. I promise you the pay-off in terms of your health will be worth it.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
According to NIAMS, to have a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, a patient must have severe chronic fatigue for 6 months or longer with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis.
At the same time, the patient must have four or more of the following symptoms:
- substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration
- sore throat
- joint pain in multiple joints without swelling or redness
- headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
- unrefreshing sleep
- discomfort after physical activity that lasts more than 24 hours
The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during 6 or more consecutive months and must not have predated the fatigue. When there is no apparent explanation or cause of chronic fatigue, such as a disease, a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome is given.
It should be noted a number of other conditions do overlap or often co-exist with chronic fatigue syndrome that also has similar symptoms. In fact, in one study of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, it was found that only 38% of patients had a sole diagnosis. The others also had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, or both. It still is not clear if these conditions or others are risk factors for chronic fatigue syndrome, are direct causes, have common causes, or have no relationship at all with chronic fatigue syndrome.
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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.
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.
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Who Is At Risk For German Measles
German measles is extremely rare in the United States, thanks to vaccines that typically provide lifelong immunity to the rubella virus. Most cases of German measles occur in people who live in countries that dont offer routine immunization against rubella.
The rubella vaccine is usually given to children when theyre between 12 and 15 months old, and then again when theyre between ages 4 and 6. This means that infants and young toddlers who havent yet received all vaccines have a greater risk of getting German measles.
To avoid complications during pregnancy, many women who become pregnant are given a blood test to confirm immunity to rubella. Its important to contact your doctor immediately if youve never received the vaccine and think you might have been exposed to rubella.
Can Fatigue Be Prevented
Fatigue as a symptom can occur as the result of many causes and therefore, prevention is not an issue. More importantly, the early recognition of fatigue will allow a person to seek medical care and potentially have an earlier diagnosis of the underlying cause made.
Sometimes, symptoms like fatigue arise gradually and it is difficult for the person to realize that there is a problem. It may take an outside perspective from a friend or family member to appreciate a difference in function. Self-awareness of gradual decline in body performance is often difficult as a person makes repeated small accommodations to complete daily activities.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
Most people diagnosed with ME/CFS were functioning at a normal level prior to their diagnosis. The arrival of ME/CFS is often abrupt and sometimes follows a stressful medical or psychological event.
The core symptoms of ME/CFS are:
- Severe, continued fatigue even after rest. This fatigue reduces the ability to perform typical daily activities
- Worsened fatigue after mental or physical activity.
- Sleep problems, which may include difficulty falling or staying asleep.
People with ME/CFS also experience one or both of the following:
- Difficulty with memory, thinking, or concentrating. Patients may struggle to recall information or experience brain fog or foggy thinking.
- Increased symptoms when standing or sitting up. Dizziness, lightheadedness, or weakness can happen upon standing or sitting upright.
Additional symptoms may include:
- Depression, especially if symptoms worsen