Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention
A recently defined condition, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is one that few people really understand. Of course, it involves chronic fatigue, but there is much more associated with the condition than in the name. Chronic fatigue was only clearly defined in 1994, and it is a condition affecting more than one million people in the United States alone.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: the Symptoms
For doctors to diagnose a patient with CFS, a patient must have exhibited chronic fatigue lasting longer than six months that does not improve with rest. She must also have at least four of the following symptoms: muscle pain; joint pain with no swelling; trouble concentrating; headaches of a new kind or severity; short-term memory issues; restless sleep; sore, possibly swollen lymph nodes; and severe exhaustion after physical or mental exertion that lasts more than twenty-four hours.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Other Possible Symptoms
Some people with CFS experience other symptoms that are unrelated to the diagnosis. A patient may have some of these or none of them. These could include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, nausea, new allergies, coughing, ear infections, dizziness or other balance problems, pain in the jaw, stiffness, dry mouth, chest pain, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath, sensations of tingling, chills or sweats, depression, eye or vision problems, and possible weight fluctuations.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Treatment
Doctors do not know the exact cause of CFS, so treatment options are limited. There are no specific drugs for CFS, and treatment actually focuses on relieving symptoms rather than curing CFS. Most doctors will treat pain and allergy symptoms, issues with dizziness, recommend treatment for depression, and treat possible blood pressure issues. They also will generally encourage CFS patients to learn to handle stress, to slow down their activities, to get more sleep and to build exercise into their routines. Most people with CFS have to learn to pace themselves. Most will have a good time of day, and that is when they need to plan their activities.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Prevention
Because no one yet knows the cause of CFS, there is no way to prevent the condition from occurring. CFS symptoms, severity and duration vary from person to person. Generally, the condition is worse in the beginning and improves. Some people eventually recover completely. Certain people do not improve and may become housebound. Most recover enough to be able to resume a normal life even though they may experience symptoms.
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