Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Q: What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?
A: An individual with CFS feels completely fatigued. It is often described as a flu-like feeling that rarely goes away. This feeling of fatigue makes doing everyday regular things seem nearly impossible. Sleep and rest will not make this feeling go away. Moving, exercising, and even thinking can make the symptoms even worse. CFS can happen suddenly or over a long period of time. Sometimes CFS patients will feel fine for one day and feel completely tired and worn out the next day. In some cases the tiredness never goes away. Someone with CFS may have muscle aches, troubles with memory, focusing, or insomnia. In order to diagnose CFS, these symptoms must be for at least 6 months.
Q: What are the signs of CFS?
A: There are a lot of symptoms that can be from CFS, some of these include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Loss of memory
- Hard time concentrating and focusing
- Muscle aches and pains
- Pain in joint areas without swelling or redness
- Sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes
- Irritable bowel
- Depression or psychological problems
Many patients that have had a diagnosis of CFS report many other symptoms as well. If you think you may have CFS and have any of these symptoms along with others not mentioned, contact your practitioner.
Q: What causes CFS?
A: No one is certain what causes CFS. There are many reasons that researchers believe, but none that have been proven true. Some believe the symptoms may be cause by an immune system that isn't working properly. Or an infection or virus may cause them. Researchers are still looking for the exact cause of CFS.
Q: Is CFS a common disease?
A: Experts think that as many as half a million Americans have CFS symptoms. But, because CFS is extremely hard to diagnose, the exact number is unknown. It affects all ages and ethnic backgrounds. More women than men are diagnosed with CFS in there 40's and 50's, yet it is not known whether more women have CFS than men do.
Q: How is CFS diagnosed?
A: CFS is very hard to diagnose. First, you need to have CFS symptoms for more than 6 months. After that you will need to rule out many other illnesses that can have the same symptoms as CFS. Some blood and urine test may be given as well as a full physical. The process in diagnosing CFS can take a person a very long time. In trying to diagnose CFS, talk to your practitioner in ways of coping and possibly helping with your symptoms.
Q: Is there a cure for CFS?
A: There is no cure for CFS. There are some medical and even natural ways of helping with CFS. Some of these include:
- Medication (You may find that one medication works at one part of the day, as another may work for a different part of the day).
- Exercise (Make sure to go over a program that is right for you with your doctor, as too much can make it worse).
- Massage Therapy
- Keeping a journal to keep track of when you may feel the most tired and when you have the most energy.
- Keep a calendar to help with important dates and meetings.
- Support groups
- Vitamins and minerals
The earlier you get a diagnosis the faster you can begin to find ways of coping with CFS. There are many ways to try and make someone with CFS live as much of a "normal life" as possible. But, the faster you begin finding what works for you the better. Today many doctors are having a much better understanding of CFS, and researchers are still trying to find the cause of CFS. Hopefully in time, there will be a cure to help those who suffer from CFS.
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