Autonomic Dysfunction & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is becoming increasingly common in the United States and there is yet to be a definite known cause. Over 1 million Americans suffer from this mysterious ailment and many times it affects every area of the person's life. Those suffering from this disease will incur various symptoms from extreme exhaustion to memory loss. Autonomic dysfunction has been linked and studied in several CFS patients, and may lead to an answer as to the cause of what many researchers call an impending epidemic.
What is Autonomic Dysfunction?
ANS, dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system is referred to as dysautonomia by specialists. The autonomic nervous system controls and regulates functions of the body that occur naturally and unconsciously. This includes things such as managing heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, endocrine and metabolic responses (what your body does in the "fight or flight" state), as well as gastrointestinal secretion. To regulate these interconnected systems throughout the body, several organs are needed and interlinked. This means, when there are autonomic dysfunctions in one's body, several disorders will occur, as numerous as they are various.
Nervous System Dysfunction and CFS
According to new studies by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic fatigues syndrome may be passed genetically. This genetic transfer is a mutation that essentially impairs the central nervous system to function in situations that are abnormal or stressful to the body. CFS is just now being recognized as a legitimate illness. Before, doctors ignored it as "slacker syndrome" or simple whining, but more and more people are realizing CFS patients are just as impaired as anyone with AIDS, multiple sclerosis or someone undergoing chemotherapy. The difference is that CFS sufferers do not die, but they remain just as debilitated as anyone else dealing with a severe illness.
Because CFS predominantly effects the nervous and immune system which are the center of all bodily functions the symptoms experienced are numerous and encompass several areas of the body.
Becoming confused, mental "fogginess" and memory loss are all common occurrences. Sensory disturbances (including sensitivity to light and noise), ataxia (clumsiness in limbs when walking and moving) as well as feelings of disorientation and weakness of muscles are all symptoms of and weakened system that the brain is in charge of controlling. These symptoms are the most startling and disruptive.
Often CFS sufferers complain of pain that is migraine like in nature. This pain may include muscles and joints, sore throat, and headaches different than any experiences before either in pattern or severity. Pain is often felt because the nervous system is under attack and is unable to control firing off signals to nerves leaving your body feeling pain that may or may not even be there.
Poor, un-rejuvenating rest is an early and common symptom of CFS. Sleep is never refreshing because your body is working so hard to maintain normal function it never has time to catch up internally.
These symptoms encompass unstable temperature control and flu-like tendencies.
Photo Credit: Thompson Chan