Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that cannot be explained by any underlying medical condition. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). CFS affects people of all ages and backgrounds and can last for years. Symptoms of CFS may include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, cognitive difficulties, and unrefreshing sleep.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The exact cause of CFS is unknown. However, research suggests that a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors may be involved. These may include viral infections, hormonal imbalances, immune system abnormalities, and stress.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning other conditions must be ruled out first. A doctor may order tests to evaluate for other conditions, such as thyroid problems, anemia, and infections. A physical exam may also be done to check for signs of muscle and joint pain.
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The goal of treatment for CFS is to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment may include medications, lifestyle changes, and psychological counseling. In some cases, alternative therapies such as acupuncture and massage may be beneficial.
Coping With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Living with CFS can be difficult. It is important to find ways to cope and stay positive. This may include joining a support group, taking breaks throughout the day, getting enough rest, and practicing relaxation techniques. It is also important to talk to a doctor or therapist about any feelings of depression or anxiety that may arise.