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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


  • CFS is a debilitating, perplexing, and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue unimproved by bed rest, and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Individuals with CFS must often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness.

  • The criteria for establishing CFS stipulates that patients must concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours. The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during 6 or more consecutive months of illness, and must not have predated the fatigue.

  • Although recent studies have failed to find an exact cause or establish a clear association with an infectious agent (e.g., Epstein-Barr virus, mycoplasma, candida, etc.) or nutritional deficiencies, they have been helpful in formulating new theories based on findings.
  • The findings suggest an autoimmune disorder. Other findings correlate the condition with physical or emotional stress, commonly reported as a pre-onset condition in those with CFS. Stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of the body, leading to increased release of Cortisol and other hormones, resulting in the symptoms of fatigue reported by CSF sufferers.
  • An abnormality in the central nervous system may produce neurally- mediated Hypotension (NMH), causing a dramatic drop in blood pressure when standing up, even for as short a time as a few minutes in CSF patients.
  • A less severe condition known as postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is also associated with CFS.
  • Regardless of the etiology, a patient with this condition must be (medically) worked up adequately to rule out other diseases (i.e., malignancies, thyroid disease, adrenal disease, AIDS, etc.).

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., Elavil, Doxepin) improve sleep and help relieve mild, generalized pain. Antidepressants from the class of seratonin re-uptake inhibitors (SRIs) such as Prozac, sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil) may be used for depression.
  • Anxiolytic agents (e.g., Xanax) may be administered to treat panic disorder.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Advil) for pain and fever
  • Anti-hypotensive therapy (e.g., Florinef) and/or salt and water intake for those with Hypotension
  • A variety of medicines may be prescribed to fight the symptoms of CFS.
  • Rest, exercise, proper diet, avoiding alcohol, drugs and all central nervous system stimulants (like coffee) are also recommended measures.
  • And patience. Healing takes place even when we least expect or understand it. Others have recovered, and so will you.

more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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