What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a condition in which a person suffers from unexplained extreme fatigue that is not related to any medical conditions. Although the fatigue gets worse with physical and mental activities, rest does not seem to improve it.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
What are the symptoms?
As the name suggests, the major symptom of this syndrome is fatigue. Besides, there are other 8 official symptoms, including:
+ Forgetfulness and poor concentration
+ Sore throat
+ Swollen lymph nodes in your neck or armpits
+ Unexplained muscle aches
+ Migrating joint pain without swelling or redness
+ Unusual headaches
+ Unrefreshing sleep
+ Extreme exhaustion that persists
When to seek medical help?
Fatigue can be the warning sign of many health conditions. You need to see a doctor if your fatigue is severe or lasts for too long.
What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?
Scientists have not been able to figure out the exact cause of this condition. Some are convinced that chronic fatigue is the result of many factors combined in people with a genetic predisposition to the syndrome.
Possible factors are:
+ Viral infections: Since some patients develop this condition after being infected with a certain kind of virus, researchers believe the infection might have something to do with it. The viruses in question are Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia viruses. The body of evidence is not enough to establish a conclusive link, though.
+ Problems with the immune system: The immune systems of those with chronic fatigue syndrome are often flawed. However, scientists are not sure if these flaws are sufficient to create the condition.
+ Hormonal imbalances: The hormones in the blood of those with chronic fatigue syndrome fluctuate sometimes, causing an imbalance. Nevertheless, the effect of this fluctuation is not clear.
What are the complications?
Chronic fatigue syndrome may result in:
+ Social exclusion
+ Increased work absences
+ Lifestyle restriction
What are the treatment options?
Chronic fatigue syndrome affects each individual in a specific way. Therefore, depending on your specific symptoms, your doctor will recommend a suitable treatment plan. Common medications include antidepressants and sleeping pills.
Therapies may help with persistent fatigue. If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, it is best to slow down a bit and try to keep an appropriate pace – moderate work and exercise. If at the end of the day you feel exhausted, you probably pushed yourself too much. Psychological counseling is also effective in some cases.
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