People who have chronic fatigue syndrome appear to be hypersensitive to even normal amounts of exercise and activity.
Why this occurs in some people and not others is still unknown. Some people may be born with a predisposition for the disorder, which is then triggered by a combination of factors. Potential triggers include:
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic fatigue syndrome include:
Other symptoms of CFS may include:
You may also experience extreme fatigue after physical or mental activities. This can last for more than 24 hours after the activity.
People are sometimes affected by CFS in cycles, with periods of feeling
worse and then better again. Symptoms may sometimes even disappear completely,
which is referred to as remission. However, it’s still possible for them to
come back again later, in a relapse. The cycle of remission and relapse can
make it difficult to manage your symptoms.
CFS is a very challenging condition to diagnose. According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS occurs in about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. It’s estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent are yet to be diagnosed.
There are no lab tests to screen for CFS, and its symptoms are similar to many other illnesses. Many people with CFS don’t “look” sick, so doctors may not recognize that they’re ill.
In order to be diagnosed with CFS, your doctor will rule out other potential causes and review your medical history with you. They’ll make sure that you have at least four of the above symptoms. They’ll also ask about the duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue.
Ruling out other potential causes of your fatigue is a key part of the diagnosis process. Some conditions whose symptoms resemble those of CFS include:
You may also experience symptoms of CFS if you’re severely obese or have depression or sleep disorders. The side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can mimic CFS as well.
Because the symptoms of CFS resemble those of other conditions, it’s
important not to self-diagnose and to talk to your doctor.
There’s currently no specific cure for CFS. Each person has different symptoms and may therefore benefit from different types of treatment, aimed at managing the disease and relieving their symptoms.
Home remedies and lifestyle changes
Making some changes to your lifestyle can help reduce your symptoms. Limiting or eliminating your caffeine intake will help you sleep better and ease your insomnia. You should limit your nicotine and alcohol intake, too.
Try to avoid napping during the day if it’s hurting your ability to sleep at night. Create a sleep routine: You should go to bed at the same time every night and aim to wake up around the same time every morning.
It’s also important to pace yourself during activities. Overexertion can make your symptoms worse and bring on an episode of fatigue. Avoid emotional and physical stress. Find the best ways for you to cope. Take time each day to relax or participate in activities you enjoy.
Typically, no one medication can treat all of your symptoms. Also, your symptoms may change over time, so your medications may have to, too.
In many cases, CFS can trigger or be a part of depression, and you may need an antidepressant to combat it. If lifestyle changes don’t give you a restful night’s sleep, your doctor may suggest a sleep aid. Pain-reducing medication can also help you cope with aches and joint pain caused by CFS.
Acupuncture, tai chi, yoga, and massage may help relieve the pain
associated with CFS. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any
alternative or complementary treatments.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome cannot be prevented but it can be managed and the symptoms can be treated.
The best option is to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and
meditate or do a fun activity to keep stress levels low.