Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) – Causes and Symptoms

What is Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) ?

Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is a serious disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn’t disappears with rest and can’t be explained by an fundamental medical condition.(1)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).

The causes of CFS are not completely understood yet. Some theories believe that it can be caused by viral infection, psychological stress, or a combination of factors.

Because no single cause has been identified, and because many other conditions show similar symptoms, diagnosis of CFS can’t be easy.

There are no tests available for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Your doctor will have to exclude other causes for your fatigue to find out its diagnosis.

Earlier CFS was a controversial diagnosis, but now it is widely accepted as a medical condition.

CFS can affect anyone, however it’s most common among women in their 40s and 50s. Now, there is no cure for this condition but treatment can relieve symptoms.

Here’s given all details what you need to know about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including symptoms, treatment options, and outlook.

What causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The cause of CFS is not clear. Researchers theorize that causative factors may include:

Genetic predisposition can also be a possible cause for some people to develop CFS.

However, CFS can sometimes develop after a viral infection, no single type of infection has been found to cause CFS. Some viral infections that have been studied in association with CFS include those caused by:

Infections caused by bacteria, including Coxiella burnetii and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, have also been studied in association with CFS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that CFS may be the last stage of multiple different conditions, rather than one particular condition.

In fact, about 1 in 10 people with EBV, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetii infection will develop a condition that is related to the criteria for a diagnosis of CFS.

Additionally, researchers say that those who’ve had severe symptoms with any of these three infections are at a higher risk for developing CFS later in their life.

People with CFS sometimes have lowered immune systems, but doctors don’t know whether this is sufficient to cause the disorder.

People with CFS can also sometimes have abnormal hormone levels. Doctors haven’t yet determined whether this is remarkable, either.

Risk factors for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS is most commonly seen among people of 40-50 years of age.

Sex also have an important role in CFS, as women have two to four times more chances to be diagnosed with CFS than men.

Other factors that may increase your risk for CFS are the following:

  • genetic predisposition
  • allergies
  • stress
  • environmental triggers

What are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Symptoms of CFS differ based on the individual and the severity of the disease.

The most common symptom is fatigue that’s very severe to impede with your daily life activities.

For the diagnosis of CFS , a remarkably reduced ability to perform your normal daily activities with fatigue must last for minimum 6 months. It must not be curable only with bed rest.

You will also feel extreme fatigue after physical or mental activities, which is called post-exertional malaise (PEM). This can last for more than 24 hours after the activity.

CFS can also lead sleep disturbance, such as:

Additionally, you may also experience:

  • loss of memory
  • lowered concentration
  • orthostatic intolerance (going from lying or seated to standing positions leads to lightheadedness dizziness or even fainting)

Physical symptoms of CFS may include the following:

  • muscle pain
  • persistent headaches
  • multi-joint pain without redness or swelling
  • reccuring sore throat
  • swelling and tenderness in lymph nodes of your neck and armpits

CFS affects some people intermittently, with periods of feeling worse and then better.

Symptoms may sometimes even go away totally, which is referred to as remission. Though, it’s still possible for symptoms to come back later, which is referred to as a relapse.

This cycle of remission and relapse can make it hard to control your symptoms, but it is not impossible.

How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome diagnosed?

CFS is a very effortful condition to diagnose.

As the Institute of Medicine says,as of 2015, CFS occurs in around 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. It is estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent have yet to get a diagnosis.

There are no available medical tests to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Many individuals with CFS don’t “look sick,” so doctors may not acknowledge that they certainly have a health condition.

For receiving a CFS diagnosis, your doctor will eliminate other probable causes and review your medical history with you.

They will sure about that you at least have the core symptoms earlier mentioned. They’ll also ask about the duration and severity of your unidentified fatigue.

Excluding other potential causes of your fatigue is a most important part of the diagnosis procedure. Some conditions with symptoms that are similar to those of CFS include:

The side effects of certain drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can resemble symptoms of CFS as well.

Because of the resemblance of symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with many other conditions, it’s necessary to not self-diagnose. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms. They can help you to relieve your symptoms.

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