Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a disease that causes you to become so fatigued that you can't do daily tasks. Many times the main symptom that practitioners look for is the chronic fatigue lasting more than 6 months. Physical and mental activity usually makes the symptoms worse while rest usually doesn't improve the symptoms. CFS is complicated to diagnose and, as of yet, there is no cure for CFS, so the goal is to improve it. However, it is important to understand that your fatigue is real and that there are measures to follow with your doctor to improve this disease and its symptoms.
Symptoms of CFS
- Fatigue that lasts 6 months or more
- Persistent muscle soreness
- Sore throat and swollen lymph glands
- Poor memory and/or concentration
- Painful areas in armpits or neck
CFS can occur in individuals who are recovering from an illness such as the common cold, or something mentally draining going on in his or her life. Furthermore, it can appear over time without any known cause and can last for years. That's why it is so important that it be diagnosed as soon as possible. The sooner the diagnosis the better the chance of improvement.
Ways to treat CFS
As explained above there is not a cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Yet, there are steps the individual can follow to try to get CFS under control. In addition, the first thing that needs to be done is finding a good doctor that may, work with CFS or has a lot of knowledge on CFS. Next is to diagnose and then talk about ways in treating this disease. Some of the things a doctor may look for are finding out first if there is a cause for the fatigue. Have you had some other physical, mental, or emotional stress in your life that could be causing the fatigue? Next, is looking into your medical history, having a physical exam, and possibly a blood test. There are medications out their believed to help CFS, but will not eliminate it. Moreover, research has also shown that there are many treatments you can try yourself to help with the chronic fatigue. Taking time to have a journal to track down times in the day where you are feeling the most tired as well as feeling the most "awake." It may also be helpful to have a calendar or daily planner handy to write down special events, meetings, or other important dates you may quickly forget. Support is also crucial that could include having a good support group, whether it be family, friends, co-workers, etc. Some believe a special diet may be helpful in treating CFS. Lastly, talk to your doctor about an exercise plan to follow. In doing this, make sure it is one they approve of as it can make things worse.
It is unknown what causes CFS. The ways you manage it and deal with it to improve the chronic fatigue is what doctors have found to be important. One of these important ways is working with a medical specialist to look at medicines that may help the chronic fatigue. They may find that one medicine works for one part of the day, as another medicine works for a different part of the day. Research has also come to know that self-care seems to help as much if not more than the medicines themselves. Ways to do this include having a modified diet and exercise, pacing yourself so your energy doesn't quickly run out, and reducing whatever stress in your life that you can. Helpful rest techniques include getting adequate amounts of sleep followed by a bedtime routine, going to bed and waking at the same times each day, and limit the time you are napping. Experiment and use your best judgment in determining what works best for you. Other prevention tips include living a healthy lifestyle with the right number of fluids and nutrients, quitting smoking and finding a hobby that you find enjoyable to do. In conclusion, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome affects many people today. It is most common in women in their 40's and 50's, but anyone can have it. CFS is a complicated disorder, and one that researchers are still trying to figure out. The percentage of those with CFS who recover is unknown, but there is some evidence that the sooner a person is treated, the better chance for improvement.
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