Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity are chronic diseases that are not understood very well by doctors. They both have similar symptoms. These conditions have only recently been recognized by doctors; the CDC added it to its list of official disease in November of 2006. It is estimated that only 20 percent of the people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have been diagnosed. Each year these illnesses cost the economy millions of dollars in health care costs and lost wages.
Identifying Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
One indication of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is that the symptoms can be replicated by exposing the patient to chemicals. A patient with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity reacts to a smaller amount of a chemical than would bother most people. When the patient is not exposed to the chemicals, s/he feels better. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is usually related to long-term contact with small amounts of chemicals, like in an office building, but is also associated with chemical spills. Early studies have shown that people with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity have a different way of metabolizing chemicals in their livers. Other names for this condition are "sick building syndrome" and "environmental illness"
Identifying Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
CFS is a complex illness that is distinguished by excessive fatigue that doesn't improve with rest or sleep and may get worse after physical or mental exertion. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sometimes happens after a viral illness, cold or time of extreme stress. Sometimes the symptoms start gradually and it is hard to tell when they started or what caused it. The symptoms can last for years.
Factors that increase your chances of developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Doctors don't know the exact cause of CFS. But these conditions have been identified as factors that increase your chances of getting it:
- Being introverted
- Your genetics
- An inactive childhood
- Getting mononucleosis
- Traumatic events
- Physical stress
Symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Symptoms of MCS can be physical or mental and involve the whole body. Different people have different symptoms. Here are some of the most common:
- Feeling groggy or slow
- Trouble concentrating
- Having an unusually strong sense of smell
- Skin problems
- Confusion and memory loss
- Joint pain
Most people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are between 25 and 45 years of age. Women are more likely to have it men; however, we don't know if that is because women are more susceptible or because they are more likely to report it to their doctor. This illness is rare in children but has been seen in teens, particularly teenage girls, after a viral illness such as the flu or mononucleosis. Some doctors believe that between 1 and 5 people in 1000 have CFS.
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