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What To Do For Chronic Fatigue

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What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The human body is designed to move, and if it sits too long, everything stagnates. Staying in motion increases blood flow, which washes out toxins, stimulates healing, and increases oxygen delivery to tissues. It also stimulates endorphins, the natural feel-good chemicals that reduce pain and stimulate immune functions, as well as stem cells, which are necessary to repair damaged tissues.

That said, experts warn that if you have chronic fatigue and overdo it, theres a risk of setback and post-exertional malaise , which is a worsening of symptoms such as fatigue, sleeplessness, cognitive issues, pain, dizziness, and more. So keep in mind that becoming active again must be a delicate balance between moving enough to gain benefit, but not so much that it aggravates inflamed tissues and causes further damage. Try these suggestions for starting slow and easy:

Causes Of Chronic Fatigue

Many factors can play a role in chronic fatigue. A specific cause of fatigue is only found in about 5% of people suffering from fatigue. For the other 95%, there is no specific cause.

In addition to CFS, chronic fatigue is a main symptom of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by widespread nonarticular pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

Additional underlying health conditions that can cause chronic fatigue include iron deficiency anemia, chronic infections or inflammation, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. Too little or unrefreshing sleep, lack of or excessive exercise, chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are all linked to fatigue .

Perhaps the biggest contributors to fatigue are poor diet and lifestyle factors. Fortunately, these factors are within your control. Lets look closer at the importance of diet.

Who Gets Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, but is 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 may be because the tendency to develop CFS is genetic.

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Ask About Flexible Work Arrangements

On days when the fatigue overwhelms Marco, he has the option of working from home. Its not an option for everyone but if you think your job might allows it, its worth asking about it, he says. My boss is pretty understanding and I try to limit it to days when the flare-ups are really bad, he explains. My last boss would never have let me do it though, so it really is about your office culture. Here are more tips for navigating work with chronic illness.

How Is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed

12 Tips To Efficiently Treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Your doctor diagnoses ME/CFS by performing a mental and physical examination. Doctors will ask about your medical history and order blood and urine tests to check for infection. In many cases, doctors refer people with suspected ME/CFS to other specialists to rule out other illnesses that could be causing symptoms.

For your doctor to diagnose ME/CFS, you must have these 3 symptoms:

  • Severe fatigue lasting at least 6 months that does not improve with rest or sleep
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue that gets worse after mental or physical exercise

Additionally, you must have at least 1 of the following symptoms:

  • Orthostatic intolerance

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Remedies For Chronic Fatigue

At this time, there are plenty of doctor-prescribed medications to take. But these may not be a good idea for a few big reasons.

Antidepressants and sleeping pills, which doctors may prescribe to treat the symptoms of chronic fatigue rather than the cause, can have a number of side effects and lead to poor health later down the road.

Instead, its a better idea to focus on natural remedies that may help your body experience better holistic wellness. Over time, these natural remedies might alleviate your chronic fatigue.

For Patients With Long Covid Chronic Fatigue Syndrome May Offer A Guiding Star

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Even doing a few simple tasks can be draining for Semhar Fisseha after her COVID diagnosis. Helena Kubicka de Bragançahide caption

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Even doing a few simple tasks can be draining for Semhar Fisseha after her COVID diagnosis.

Before she became sick with a coronavirus infection in January, Semhar Fisseha was a healthy, active 39-year-old.

She took walks every day and planned summer vacations with her nine-year-old daughter. Now, even activities that many people take for granted can come at a big cost.

“I woke up with a deep fatigue,” she says in an audio diary one October morning.

“I had a four-activity day yesterday I showered, I bathed my daughter, I went for a walk, and I washed the dishes.”

Fisseha also experiences chest pain and a racing heart.

“My heart rate has been pretty up and down,” she says in another audio diary. “It’s gone up to 120s, 130s without any real activity.”

Fisseha is a senior administrator at Weill Cornell Medicine. Some days, she wakes up feeling optimistic, like she will be able to cross a lot off her to-do list: Shower, work a full work day, prepare lunch and dinner for her daughter.

But she can become drained just from talking during work meetings, forcing her to rethink her plans.

The deep fatigue Fisseha experiences is one of the most frequently reported long-term effects of COVID-19. It’s known as “post-exertional malaise,” a worsening of symptoms such as pain or fatigue after physical or mental exertion.

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Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue

According to the Institute of Medicine of National Academies in the US, ME/CFS affects 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans since 2015. For this reason, early prevention and treatment for chronic fatigue can avoid this disease. If youre experiencing some of these chronic fatigue symptoms, it may be best to visit your local hospital right away.

  • Unending body, joint, and muscle pain for more than six months
  • Extreme exhaustion even after short periods of exercise
  • Restless leg syndrome

General Exercise Tips For People With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Be guided by your doctor or specialist, but general suggestions include:

  • Experiment to find the type of exercise that works best for you. Choose from a range of gentle activities such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, walking and light weight training.
  • Keep an activity diary so you have a long-term picture of your performance levels and factors that might impact on your symptoms.
  • Stop the physical activity well before you feel any symptom flare. Pacing yourself is very important.
  • Remember that the amount of exercise you can do will change from one day to the next.
  • Listen to your body if you dont feel up to exercising on a particular day, dont.
  • Find out as much as you can about your ME/CFS. Make sure you consult with health professionals who fully understand ME/CFS as a ‘real’ biomedical condition.

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What May Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Why chronic fatigue syndrome occurs is unclear and complex. Researchers conclude that infections, like pneumonia and bronchitis, and other immune deficiencies can be related to chronic fatigue syndrome. Depression, pain, and sleep disturbances frequently occur with chronic fatigue syndrome.

If you suspect chronic fatigue syndrome, you should find a healthcare practitioner who can take a holistic approach to your health and uncover underlying health issues and lifestyle factors that may contribute to your fatigue.

Unfortunately, patients sometimes feel frustrated that they havent been able to get answers from their doctors or by asking . They might see symptoms like chronic fatigue as in their head or they lack motivation or willpower.

What Is Chronic Fatigue In Ms

This chronic fatigue is not just being physically tired, it is also being emotionally tired and cognitively tired.

  • Physically tired where your limbs don?t want to move, where putting the kettle on is an extreme effort.
  • Emotionally tired where you are selfish about everything and you do not want to hear about other people?s problems
  • Cognitively tired where you brain is out of gear and you cannot even think about your to-do list. What to-do list?

Time management on a microscopic scale. You have limited energy, perhaps no energy at all. But, you still have a life, you still have a job these things are all incompatible.

But, after my fourth filtered black coffee of the morning, I am slowly coming to life. I had a poor nights sleep. I awoke with what felt like a thumping hangover despite not having had anything to drink. Albeit I did dream that I had been out partying.

MS Sucks, in more ways than one. If I do have a drink, I get drunk very quickly and then feel hungover for days and now I find that all I have to do is dream about alcohol and end up the same way.

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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.

Manage Your Stress Levels

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Signs You Might Be Ignoring ...

Your stress levels can play a big role in how tired you feel and in how healthy your immune system is. Some recommendations for managing your stress levels are:

  • Getting enough sleep every night.
  • Intellectual stimulation .
  • Practicing meditation, yoga or tai chi to increase mental wellness.
  • Fostering and maintaining a strong social support network.
  • Avoiding tobacco and alcohol overconsumption.

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Lifestyle Suggestions For Fighting Fatigue

Suggestions include:

  • Dont smoke cigarette smoke contains many harmful substances. There are many reasons why smokers typically have lower energy levels than non-smokers for example, for the body to make energy it needs to combine glucose with oxygen, but the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the amount of oxygen available in the blood.
  • Increase physical activity physical activity boosts energy levels, while a sedentary lifestyle is a known cause of fatigue. Physical activity has many good effects on the body and mind. A good bout of exercise also helps you sleep better at night. Seek advice and encouragement regarding the steps you can take toward a more active lifestyle and talk to your doctor if you havent exercised in a long time, are obese, are aged over 40 years or have a chronic medical condition.
  • Move more, sit less reduce sedentary behaviours such as watching television and using computers, and break up long bouts of sitting.
  • Seek treatment for substance abuse excessive alcohol consumption or recreational drug use contribute to fatigue, and are unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
  • Workplace issues demanding jobs, conflicts at work and burnout are common causes of fatigue. Take steps to address your work problems. A good place to start is to talk with your human resources officer.

Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Doctors have narrowed down some of the triggers for chronic fatigue syndrome. Everyone is different, though, and may experience symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome differently, but theCenters for Disease Control and doctors classifychronic fatigue syndrome as having at least four of the following physical symptoms for at least six months:

  • Post-exertional malaise
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Headaches

Chronic fatigue syndrome can only be diagnosed when other diseases have been ruled out, but thats the problem: You may experience fatigue as a symptom of other health conditions.

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Get Your Candida Imbalance Under Control

Your body might also be under the influence of a candida imbalance. Candida is a common type of fungus normally found in your mouth, in the intestines, and on the skin in small amounts. But if candida grows uncontrollably, it could cause an infection and lead to the disruption of your immune system.

This can then spiral out of control and lead to a bunch of other side effects, like a greater susceptibility to illness.

The best way to treat a candida imbalance is to adjust your diet. Avoid high lactose dairy products, refined sugars, and carbs, as these foods are the primary fuel for the candida fungus. At the same time, consume more probiotics found in certain types of yogurt and other products. These helpful bacteria can push out the candida and bolster your digestive tract.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Diagnosis And Treatment

Two Things You Need To Know About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

JOSEPH R. YANCEY, MD, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Virginia

SARAH M. THOMAS, MD, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington

Am Fam Physician. 2012 Oct 15 86:741-746.

Patient information: See related handout on chronic fatigue syndrome, written by the authors of this article.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a widespread problem. It is estimated that more than 2 million Americans have CFS, many of whom have not been diagnosed.1 Women are twice as likely as men to have CFS,1 and it is more common in persons older than 40 years.1,2 There is not an established racial or educational predilection.1,2 CFS is often mentally and emotionally debilitating, and persons with this diagnosis are twice as likely to be unemployed as persons with fatigue who do not meet formal criteria for CFS.3 In 2002, the estimated annual cost of lost productivity was $9.1 billion dollars in the United States.4 In addition to economic hardships, persons with CFS are more likely to report subjective functional impairment than those with chronic fatigue.3


Persons with chronic fatigue should have an evaluation, including history, physical examination, and initial laboratory testing .


Persons with chronic fatigue should have an evaluation, including history, physical examination, and initial laboratory testing .

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Theres Tired And Then Theres Fatigue Lets Not Mistake The Two

Fatigue is one of the most challenging symptoms of chronic illness to cope with. This is something we hear from CreakyJoints members over and over and over again.My worst problem is fatigue. I need all my energy just to get through my eight hours of work and when thats over I have none left to do anything else, Elena K. told us recently on Facebook.Fatigue is robbing me of the energy I wanted to use on all the projects I had planned for retirement, shared Beverly K. on Facebook.

Build Peace And Relax

CFS can be debilitating both physically and mentally. Suffering from persistent exhaustion, reduced brain cognition, chronic muscle and joint pain, stress, and even guilt takes a toll on the body, and psyche.

Long-term stress control and relaxation must be a vital portion of any protocol used to overcome chronic fatigue syndrome. While seemingly impossible, its imperative that sufferers of CFS do their best to effectively manage stress, and rest.

The Power of Rest

Rest means more than just sleep. Dedicate one day per week when you dont have any responsibilities or commitments. Truly commit to a full day of rest. This gives your body and mind a much-needed respite helping to fight stress, anxiety and exhaustion. Its also important during the week, if you are having a particularly difficult day, to not overtax yourself.

While regular exercise supports wellness and helps to diminish stress, individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome need to exercise at a controlled intensity. High-intensity workouts can leave you drained for several days.

Exercise Therapy

Exercise therapy has been shown to help with fatigue, mental clarity and depression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. According to a study released in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, individuals with CFS were recommended to perform aerobic activities, at the clinic twice per month, in combination with at-home exercises for roughly 5-15 minutes in duration, five days per week.


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What Can I Do To Manage Covid Fatigue

Fatigue can drain your energy and keep you from doing day-to-day things when youre down with a viral sickness like COVID-19 or long-haul COVID-19.

To manage your health and ease fatigue symptoms while youre sick or post-COVID, you should:

  • Accept that fatigue is a real side effect of having COVID-19.
  • Make sure to get a good nights sleep. This can help your body preserve energy.
  • Try relaxation techniques like mindful meditation, aromatherapy, yoga, and tai chi. These can help to reduce stress and fatigue symptoms.
  • Plan ahead on what you can get done with limited energy.
  • Prioritize the tasks that are important. This will help you spend energy on only those things that need to be done.
  • Delegate certain tasks to others who can complete them for you. This can include activities like grocery shopping or cooking.
  • Try to stay active. A viral infection can knock your energy out, but moving and light exercise can energize you.
  • Keep a diary on all things that either trigger your fatigue or make it worse. This will help you steer clear of energy-draining activities.
  • Eat foods that give your body energy.
  • Stay hydrated.

Not An Easy Question To Answer

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Symptoms, treatment, and causes

Do you feel like you’re tired all the time, to the point that you are starting to worry that something is seriously wrong? Have you begun to wonder if you could have chronic fatigue syndrome?

Verywell / Emily Roberts

It’s difficult to say whether you could have chronic fatigue syndrome. Even for a healthcare provider experienced with it, this is a tough diagnosis to make, and it takes multiple steps.

To answer the question of whether you might have this disease, first, you need to understand that there’s a difference between the symptoms of chronic fatigue and the illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which is also called myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME/CFS.

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