Dealing with Chronic Fatigue
If you’ve ever had a period where you’ve felt exhausted regardless of how much sleep you’ve had or felt tired no matter what you do, chances are you’ve explored chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) as a potential cause. While it is possible that you have developed chronic fatigue syndrome, you need to explore all the root causes behind your symptoms before you jump to conclusions. Then talk to your doctor to see what their diagnosis is.
In order to help you learn more about chronic fatigue syndrome, we’ve gathered together pertinent details about the condition, as well as some tips for managing CFS if you’ve been officially diagnosed. Check them out below.
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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition that causes the patient to feel exhausted and tired no matter how much sleep they’ve gotten.
Just being exhausted for a few days doesn’t mean that you have CFS — you have to have had the symptoms for at least six months, and your exhaustion needs to be something that cannot be cured with bed rest. You also need to have at least four other symptoms from a list that includes: loss of memory, inability to concentrate, chronic insomnia, muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits.
You may start noticing your first symptoms of CFS after physical activities as a disproportionate feeling of exhaustion after an activity that used to feel easier.
How do I know if I have CFS?
If you think you have CFS, talk to your doctor. There isn’t a test specifically for CFS, so your doctor will probably do several different kinds of tests to rule out other factors first. Getting a solid diagnosis can sometimes be difficult as some people with CFS find that their condition comes in waves, which makes it hard to keep track of. They’ll experience several months of intense exhaustion, followed by a period where everyday activities are more manageable, and they don’t feel as tired. Remission is possible with CFS, but there is always a possibility of a relapse.
What causes it?
There are tons of factors that affect a person with CFS, but it’s unknown whether any of these mitigating factors are the cause of the syndrome. Women are more likely than men to develop CFS, and it’s most common among women aged 40-50. Some researchers think that a weakened immune system could be the culprit, but there are lots of things that can weaken your immune system, such as stress, hormonal imbalances, or a virus. Unusual hormone levels are common in people who have been diagnosed with CFS, but doctors are still unsure if this is significant.