Chronic fatigue syndrome is an acquired ilness that affects all body systems, especially the neurological, endocrine and immune systems. Furthermore, CFS refers to severe and continued tiredness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other medical conditions.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown. Some theories suggest CFS may be due to:
· Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6); however, no specific virus has been identified as the cause
· Innflammation in the nervous system, because of a faulty immune system response
The following may also play a role in the development of CFS:
· Previous illnesses
· Environmental factors
Symptoms of CFS are similar to those of the flu and other common viral infections, and include muscle aches, headache, and extreme fatigue.
However, symptoms of CFS last for 6 months or more.
The main symptom of CFS is extreme tiredness (fatigue), which is:
· Lasts at least 6 months
· Not relieved by bed rest
· Severe enough to keep you from participating in certain activities
Other symptoms include:
· Feeling extremely tired for more than 24 hours after exercise that would normally be considered easy
· Feeling unrefreshed after sleeping for a proper amount of time
· Concentration problems
· Joint pain but no swelling or redness
· Headaches that differ from those you have had in the past
· Mild fever (101 degrees F or less)
· Muscle aches
· Muscle weakness, all over or multiple locations, not explained by any known disorder
· Sore throat
· Sore lymph nodes in the neck or under the arms
Signs and tests
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) describes CFS as a distinct disorder with specific symptoms and physical signs, based on ruling out
other possible causes.
CFS is diagnosed after your health care provider rules out other possible causes of fatigue, including:
· Drug dependence
· Immune or autoimmune disorders
· Muscle or nerve diseases (such as multiple sclerosis)
· Endocrine diseases (such as hypothyroidism)
· Other illnesses (such as heart, kidney, or liver diseases)
· Psychiatric or psychological illnesses, particularly depression
A diagnosis of CFS must include:
· Absence of other causes of chronic fatigue
· At least four CFS-specific symptoms
· Extreme, long-term fatigue
There are no specific tests to confirm the diagnosis of CFS. However, there have been reports of those suffering from CFS of having abnormal results on the following tests:
· Brain MRI
· White blood cell count
The goal of treatment is to help relieve pain and other symptoms, and to help a person cope with the symptoms.
Support groups may also be helpful. (our site)
The long-term outlook for those with CFS varies and is difficult to predict when symptoms first start. Some completely recover after 6 months to a year.
Other never feel like they did before they developed CFS. Studies suggest that you are more likely to get better if you receive extensive rehabilitation.
· Inability to participate in work and social activities, which can lead to isolation
· Side effects to medication or treatments
All the information presented, is provided from the National Institute of Health, USA and incorporated for the sole purpose for the Fibromyalgia Support Group based in Richmond Hill, ON.
Fibromyalgia - PubMed Health." National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 18 July 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002224/
van de Sande, Marjorie . "Welcome to National ME/FM Action Network." Welcome to National ME/FM Action Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 July 2011. http://www.mefmaction.net
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