Literature Review And Findings
In response to the proposals, WHO conducted an extensive literature review of research relating to chronic fatigue. The review found that there remains insufficient evidence to classify chronic fatigue as an infectious disease, at this time. The review also confirmed the lack of consensus on a reliable diagnostic pattern of symptoms, the continued debate about etiology and the absence of any uniform or reliable treatment. The only constant in the studies reviewed was the lead symptom of fatigue, persistent over time.
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
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.
Complementary And Alternative Medicine
CFS/ME patients tend to use more alternative medicine treatments than people without . Patients often leave orthodox medical care because they feel that their condition has been unjustifiably attributed to psychological causes: they are given the message that it is all in the mind. In a twin study, 91% of twins with CFS/ME and 71% without CFS/ME used at least one alternative treatment. A large proportion of the study participants stated that alternative treatments were helpful .
Read Also: Extreme Fatigue After Quitting Smoking
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disease for doctors to diagnose and even fully understand.
CFS is a chronic condition that makes people feel very tired and weak. They can also have headaches, dizziness, or other physical symptoms. Sometimes they have emotional symptoms too, like anger or sadness.
Different people with CFS can have different symptoms. Many CFS symptoms are similar to those of other health conditions, like mono, Lyme disease, or depression. And the symptoms can vary over time, even in the same person.
This makes treating the illness complicated. No single medicine or treatment can address all the possible symptoms.
CFS is sometimes called myalgic encephalomyelitis . Myalgic means muscle aches. Encephalomyelitis means that there may be inflammation in the brain or spinal cord.
S To Overcome Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a chronic illness characterized by extreme fatigue that lasts for more than six months. This fatigue cannot be explained away by an underlying medical condition. In fact, one of the diseases principle challenges is that its impossible to diagnose with laboratory tests. However, some professionals believe it is closely related to adrenal fatigue or system wide inflammation of the body.
The process for diagnosis usually begins with ruling out possible underlying diseases and chronic conditions until the only choice left is chronic fatigue syndrome. Left untreated, it decreases stamina, memory and concentration.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can result in strained relationships with friends and family, especially when it remain undiagnosed and/or untreated. Guilt, anxiety and anger are all common emotional responses for those fighting chronic fatigue.
Currently, over 1 million Americans are suffering from this debilitating illness that manifests with a lack of energy and motivation, and women are 24 times more likely than men to be diagnosed.
You May Like: Hashimoto’s And Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
How To Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This article was co-authored by Chris M. Matsko, MD. Dr. Chris M. Matsko is a retired physician based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With over 25 years of medical research experience, Dr. Matsko was awarded the Pittsburgh Cornell University Leadership Award for Excellence. He holds a BS in Nutritional Science from Cornell University and an MD from the Temple University School of Medicine in 2007. Dr. Matsko earned a Research Writing Certification from the American Medical Writers Association in 2016 and a Medical Writing & Editing Certification from the University of Chicago in 2017. This article has been viewed 61,447 times.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating condition which leaves the afflicted individual with an ongoing feeling of exhaustion. Persons with CFS may be unable to perform even mundane activities which under normal circumstances present no problem. There is no cure for CFS, and there are no medications developed specifically for the condition. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available which can alleviate the symptoms associated with CFS.
Manage Stress And Increase Restorative Sleep
Doesn’t it feel like life gets busier every year? These hectic and stressful lives we live are doing a number on our sleep.
What to do: Start and end your day with mindfulness meditation. An amino acid called theanine has also been shown to improve sleep and allows you to feel rested and rejuvenated when you wake up. Low-caffeine teas like white tea or decaf green tea are great sleep-promoting options, as well.
Recommended Reading: Adrenal Fatigue Weight Gain Treatment
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms
While the term chronic fatigue is fairly descriptive of this crippling illness, it doesnt tell the entire story. Chronic fatigue often starts suddenly, with flu-like symptoms. But unlike the flu, it can last a lifetime.
In addition to the profound fatigue experienced, other serious symptoms often accompany CFS, such as:
- joint pain that moves from one spot to another
- digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome .
Sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome also experience significant alterations in levels of irritability, mood swings, panic attacks, anxiety and depression. According to a study published in Family Practice, 36 percent of individuals with CFS were clinically depressed and 22 percent had seriously considered suicide in the past year.
Simply, the emotional and mental side effects of CFS cannot be overlooked, and treatment must include the mind, body and spirit.
What Does Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment Look Like
We recommend a treatment plan tailored to your needs and concerns, with the caveat that progress while living with CFS is slow work, but very rewarding.
We believe in the functional medicine approach, and we try to heal your body as a whole, not concentrating on just one area.
- An anti-inflammatory diet, specific to you and your needs to help alleviate your aches and pains.
- Investigate the possibility of allergies, or an additional undiagnosed autoimmune disease.
- Integrative therapies such as acupuncture and nutritional therapy
These treatments are intended as a long-term solution to reduce your symptoms and help you lead a more functional life.
Recommended Reading: How To Combat Fatigue From Blood Pressure Medication
How Can I Feel Less Tired
Some changes to your lifestyle can make you feel less tired. Here are some suggestions:
- Keep a fatigue diary to help you find patterns throughout the day when you feel more or less tired.
- Exercise regularly. Almost anyone, at any age, can do some type of physical activity. If you have concerns about starting an exercise program, ask your doctor if there are any activities you should avoid. Moderate exercise may improve your appetite, energy, and outlook. Some people find that exercises combining balance and breathing improve their energy.
- Try to avoid long naps late in the day. Long naps can leave you feeling groggy and may make it harder to fall asleep at night. Read A Good Nights Sleep for tips on getting better rest at night.
- Stop smoking.Smoking is linked to many diseases and disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and breathing problems, which can drain your energy.
- Ask for help if you feel swamped. Some people have so much to do that just thinking about their schedules can make them feel tired. Working with others may help a job go faster and be more fun.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The cause of CFS is not yet fully understood, but it is likely that several factors contribute to its development. There are changes in the immune system and body chemistry.
CFS is usually triggered by a viral infection, such as glandular fever or influenza, but any infection may be the trigger. It is likely that the potential for getting CFS is genetic and runs in families. Some people experience ongoing effects of COVID-19 infection, known as long COVID, which are very similar to the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Other factors that may contribute include:
- emotional or physical distress
- multiple joint pain without joint swelling or redness
- headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
- unrefreshing sleep
- tiredness that can last for more than 24 hours after physical or mental effort.
Some people also report a range of other symptoms such as nausea, loss of appetite, irritable bowel syndrome , bloating, diarrhoea, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, jaw pain, night sweats, increased sensitivity to alcohol or medication, chronic cough, dizzy spells or dry eyes.
The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, or even within a day.
Don’t Miss: What Illness Causes Extreme Fatigue
The Multiple Sclerosis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Study
Theyre mumbling that HIV/AIDS is quite treatable? I think they would agree that multiple sclerosis is not. Wouldnt they, like anyone, quail at the idea of having MS?
Hit them with a study showing that multiple sclerosis patients were twice as functional, experienced considerably less pain and had greatly increased vitality compared to people with ME/CFS All this in a disease known for the high rates of fatigue it produces.
You May Like: Does Parkinsonâs Cause Fatigue
Other Drugs Being Investigated For Cfs
Rituximab is a biologic drug used to treat the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis and certain cancers. The drug targets and blocks the activation of certain type of B cells. A small early-stage trial investigated rituximab’s effectiveness in treating CFS. Results suggest that the drug may improve fatigue and other symptoms in some people with the disease. The results are preliminary and further study is needed before it can be determined if rituximab is likely to be helpful in treating CFS.
In 2016, Rintatolimod an antiviral and immunomodulatory agent, was approved for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome in Argentina. It is also available now in Canada and Europe, but is still not approved for use in the United States. It is the only drug to receive an approval for the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome anywhere in the world.
Recommended Reading: Madewell Griff Tapered Fatigue Pants
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.
What Is The Treatment For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
A treatment plan for CFS aims to relieve your symptoms to improve your quality of life. The plan should include:
- a plan for how to manage stress
- a very gentle exercise plan
- a nutritious diet, with regular meals/snacks to keep up your energy
- supplements if your diet lacks a good balance or if your blood tests indicate deficiencies
- a sleep management plan, which may include medication
- physiotherapy to help with pain and good breathing techniques
- medication for pain
- psychological input if you are particularly stressed or depressed.
Also Check: Can Low Hdl Cause Fatigue
Diagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Laboratory tests to exclude other causes of symptoms
At least one of the following manifestations is also required:
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.
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.
Read Also: Can Diabetes Cause Extreme Fatigue
What Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex and disabling disease. It has been classified as a neurological disorder by the World Health Organization, though it affects many parts of the body, including the brain and muscles, digestive, immune and cardiac systems.
The term myalgic encephalomyelitis means pain in the muscles, and inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Scientists are starting to understand some of the biological changes in the bodies of people with ME/CFS, although they have not yet found how to prevent, or cure it.
Research has found that ME/CFS is associated with problems involving:
- The bodys ability to produce energy at a cellular level
- Immune, neurological and hormonal systems
- Blood pressure and heart rate regulation
- Cognition how quickly information is processed
ME/CFS affects men, women and children of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 75-80% of people with the disease are female. It is estimated that up to 600,000 Victorians may be living with ME/CFS, and as many as 90% are undiagnosed.
How Does Me/cfs Affect People
ME/CFS affects different people in different ways, some more severely than others. There are four levels of severity of ME/CFS, which give an indication of the level of disability ME/CFS can create:
- mild: 50% reduction in pre-illness activity
- moderate: mostly housebound
- severe: mostly bedridden
- very severe: totally bedridden and need help with basic activities including nutrition and hydration.
The severity of ME/CFS can vary over time. A person living with ME/CFS could be at one level of severity now, then their disease could either improve or deteriorate over time. For some patients, their disease can worsen significantly with no known cause. Other patients have a fluctuating illness where they have better and worse periods, which last for months or years. It is unclear why this happens.
For most people, ME/CFS is a lifelong disease. Full recovery is rare and estimated at less than 10%. For some people with ME/CFS, as time passes and their disease improves, they will find they can do more, but it is a slow and gradual process. However, this is not the case for everyone. Some people find their disease worsens over time, others may remain somewhat stable. With support and pacing, people can often improve their quality of life.
Recommended Reading: Anti Fatigue Mats For Office
If I Dont Have Any Of These Disorders Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Its possible. First, though, go over the list at the top to see if youve been sleeping poorly recently, been under a lot of stress, if youve been very inactive lately, , if your diet has worsened, or if youve recently been put on a new medication
The fatigue, it should be noted, in ME/CFS is often immense, and is always accompanied by something called post-exertional malaise or PEM. PEM refers to a dramatic worsening of symptoms after exertion that sometimes takes a day or two to appear.
Only a physician can diagnose you with ME/CFS. In the meantime learn more about the symptoms found in ME/CFS, and check out the CDCs page on ME/CFS.
Appendix 1 The Interview Guide
What follows is a guide some themes may emerge spontaneously so the order of the questions varied as the interview and analysis phase developed allowing for the exploration of themes from the initial interview. The researcher probed and asked for examples to explore each topic as time permitted.
Tell me about your experience of working with patients with chronic fatigue
What do you understand by the term CFS/ME?
What factors do you think cause it? Maintain it?
What do you do when someone presents with tiredness?
When and why would a diagnosis of CFS/ME come about?
How do you feel about making a diagnosis? Why?
What role do you think GPs have in diagnosing CFS/ME?
What role do guidelines play in your diagnosis?
What could help with diagnosis?
What do you feel a diagnosis does for the patient? For how you manage the patient?
Do you refer patients to a specialist? If so, who to and why?
does a diagnosis effect your interactions or relationship with a patient?
Do your perceptions/feelings about that patient change?
What kind of doctor-patient relationship helps manage effectively with these patients?
How would you approach a newly registered patient with a pre-existing diagnosis of CFS/ME?
Don’t Miss: What Do You Take For Adrenal Fatigue