Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a name for severe fatigue, for which no medical cause can be found. People with CFS are, due to fatigue, no longer able to live the life they were used to. For example, they can no longer exercise, go to school or have contact with friends or girlfriends.
Despite extensive scientific research, no unmistakeable explanation for the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome has been found. The research is still in progress. Some researchers and doctors look for a purely physical cause. Others assume that psychological and psychosocial causes play a role as well.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex problem. It’s a condition with severe fatigue and a large number of physical and mental symptoms.
The most obvious signs and symptoms are:
- Periods of prevailing fatigue and exhaustion.
- Non-refreshing sleep.
- Weakness in muscles of arms, legs, back and neck.
- Prolonged recovery period.
- Sudden persistent muscle cramps, muscle pain after effort or joint pain.
- Serious restriction of mental efforts due to headache, dizziness and concentration problems.
- No resistance to stress.
In addition, a large number of other symptoms may be present. CFS doesn’t affect each patient in the same way. The symptoms and the intensity of the condition can vary considerably from person to person and in the same person from day to day or even from hour to hour.
It is generally found that we speak of chronic fatigue syndrome when a person suffers from persistent or recurrent fatigue for at least 6 months, for which no physical explanation can be found. Such fatigue should be new, should not be the result of continuous effort, hardly improves with rest and restricts functioning severely.
On the treatment of CFS is no consensus, there is a lot of experimenting with medicines, supplements, psychotherapy, etc.
Several widely used treatment methods are:
- Medication via tricyclic antidepressants and calcium antagonists.
- Administration of essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha linoleic acid.
- Immunotherapy, such as administration of high doses of immunoglobins.
- Taking high doses of vitamins (B6, B12 and C) or minerals (mainly magnesium and zinc).
- Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.
- Processing the disease and invalidating aspect.
- The search for a suitable lifestyle.
- Rehabilitation on physical and psychosocial level.
- Treatment of sleeping problems and any existing emotional problems, such as stress symptoms or depression.
In practice, a combination of physical, mental and psychosocial treatment methods appears to be most effective. This requires a multidisciplinary approach, in which internists, neuropsychiatrists, physical therapists and other paramedical disciplines, partners and family members play a role.
The course of CFS is variable and unpredictable. In most cases, the disease shows over the years, after the initial phase, a pattern of deterioration and improvement. The problems usually last for three to nine years. Most patients gradually become slightly better, however, a significant minority remains severely affected.
- Don’t smoke, drink responsible, get enough sleep and eat and live healthy and balanced.
- Drink water, water is essential.
- Avoid stress, negative emotions and thoughts and anxiety. These create imbalance between body and mind and disrupt the endocrine system and the digestion of food.
- Have your body checked on crooked growth and let it be corrected, if necessary. A misalignment in the body can cause all kinds of problems: from back, knee, shoulder, neck and headache to fatigue and being mentally unbalanced.
- If, apart from fatigue, a person has more symptoms, it may be possible that viruses, bacteria, worms, parasites or fungi are the cause.
- Many people have chest breathing. This way of breathing takes more energy, creates tension in the upper body and causes physical problems in the long run.
- An unhealthy environment is an environment where people smoke, where the room is too humid, too dry or too dark and which contains many radiation (gsm, dect, umts). Ensure a clean ventilated, radiation-free and well-lit living environment. This also applies to the workplace.
- Get sufficient exercise. This improves the immune system, alertness, vitality, mood, self-esteem, circulation and sleep.
- Chronic fatigue is a syndrome diagnosis, which was introduced in the late eighties of the last century.
- The term ‘myalgic encephalomyelitis’ is derived from the Latin words myalgia (muscle pain), myelitis (inflammation of the spinal cord) and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
- The prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome is 0.25%.
- Women are at higher risk of having this condition than men.
- The symptoms usually occur in people aged 29 to 35 years.