We all get tired from time to time, but for those who experience chronic fatigue, their tiredness can take a real negative toll on their life. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is categorized as feeling fatigued for at least six months. This type of fatigue does not improve with stimulants or sleep. Furthermore, you may also experience a sick feeling up to 24 hours post-activity, muscle pain, memory problems, headaches, pain in multiple joints, sleep problems, sore throat, and tender lymph nodes.
Unfortunately, there is no standardized test to diagnose CFS, which is the primary reason that many patients go undiagnosed. Furthermore, the exact cause of CFS is unknown and there aren’t many readily available effective treatments either.
Here are some other facts that you may not have known about chronic fatigue syndrome.
Facts you never knew about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome was not recognized as a real medical condition until the 2000s.
- To be diagnosed with CFS, patients must experience fatigue and lethargy and these symptoms must be causing a 50 percent decline in function—physical and social—for at least six months.
- Four of the following symptoms must be present to diagnose CFS: a sore throat, persistent infections, swollen and/or sore lymph nodes, headaches and pain in muscles or joints, impaired memory or concentration, excessive sleep requirement, appetite loss or gain, and agitation.
- Even though CFS has recently been recognized as a condition, many doctors still don’t believe it is a physiological condition but rather a psychological one, so they are most likely to prescribe anti-depressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- CFS can occur without prior illness or following an infection.
- There is some evidence that toxins and poisons in the environment may trigger CFS. For example, individuals who are exposed to chemicals have a higher risk of developing CFS.
- Published scientific papers have linked CFS to the dysfunction of the mitochondria.
- CFS rates are higher among those who over-exercise.
- Infection, injury, environmental factors, hormonal imbalances, and psychological stress all create stress and an adrenaline response, which reduces blood flow to certain areas of the nervous system. This can starve the nervous system of necessary nutrients and lead to fatigue.
- Although there are no specific diagnostic tests, your doctor may measure ATP production, measure toxins, and identify nutritional deficiencies.
Although it can be challenging to receive a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, you will have greater success by tracking your symptoms along with their duration to assist your doctor in making a diagnosis. If you can’t seem to shake off fatigue and lethargy for over six months, it’s time you speak to your doctor about chronic fatigue syndrome possibly being the culprit.
Related: Overcoming chronic fatigue syndrome: Steps to follow