Did youKnow??? about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is Associate in Nursing unwellness characterised by prolonged, exhausting fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest and worsens with physical or mental activity. It is additionally characterised by multiple nonspecific symptoms like headaches, continual sore throats, muscle and joint pains, and memory and concentration difficulties.

CFS will be exhausting to diagnose, and its cause or causes ar unknown. Even its name can be confusing: CFS is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME or ME/CFS or CFS/ME), as well as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).

Profound fatigue, the hallmark of the disorder, can come on suddenly or gradually and persists or recurs throughout the period of illness. Unlike the short-run incapacity of Associate in Nursing unwellness like the grippe, by definition CFS symptoms should have lasted for a minimum of six months. They often linger for years.

CFS affects girls at concerning fourfold the speed that it affects men, and also the unwellness is diagnosed a lot of typically in individuals in their 40s and 50s. It will have an effect on any sex, race or socioeconomic category. Research shows that it’s a minimum of as common in Hispanics and African Americans because it is in Caucasians. And though CFS is a smaller amount common in youngsters than in adults, youngsters will develop the unwellness, particularly during the teen years. It will be as disabling as MS and chronic hindering pneumonic sickness.

The prevalence of CFS is troublesome to live as a result of the unwellness will be troublesome to diagnose, but, in general, it’s calculable that a minimum of one million individuals within the United States have CFS, according to the CDC. CFS is usually seen in members of an equivalent family, suggesting there could also be a genetic link; a lot of analysis is required to prove this link.

CFS doesn’t seem to be a replacement unwellness, although it only recently was assigned a name. Relatively tiny outbreaks of comparable disorders are delineated in medical literature since the Thirties. Furthermore, case reports of comparable illnesses date back several centuries.

Interest in CFS was revived within the mid-1980s when many studies found slightly higher levels of antibodies to the herpes virus (EBV) in individuals with CFS-like symptoms than in healthy people. Most of those individuals had intimate with Associate in Nursing episode of infectious disease (sometimes referred to as mono or the “kissing disease”) a number of years before they began to expertise the chronic, unhealthful symptoms of CFS. As a result, for a time, the CFS-like unwellness became popularly termed “chronic EBV.”

Further investigation revealed that elevated EBV antibodies were not indicative of CFS, since healthy people have EBV antibodies and some people with CFS don’t have elevated levels of EBV antibodies.

The international cluster organized by the CDC named the unwellness chronic fatigue syndrome as a result of the name reflects the foremost common symptom: long, persistent fatigue. It is important to note, however, that the word “fatigue” may be extremely misleading. Fatigue is however one symptom among many who frame this unwellness, and it doesn’t reflect the significance of other disabling symptoms. The word additionally adds to generalized misunderstanding and trivialization of the unwellness. Use of the name

ME/CFS is becoming more common.

There are not any indications that CFS is contagious or that it will be transmitted through intimate or casual contact. Research continues to work out the security of blood donation by individuals with CFS. The AABB, a company representing blood banking centers within the us and round the world, has counseled the indefinite deferral of potential blood donors with a past or current history of CFS. This recommendation has been adopted by the yank nongovernmental organization and America’s Blood Centers, the 2 largest blood collectors within the us.

CFS may begin suddenly or come on gradually. The unexpected onset ofttimes follows a metabolic process, canal or different acute infection, including mononucleosis. Other cases develop when emotional or physical traumas like serious accidents,bereavement or surgery.

Although CFS will persist for several years, long studies indicate that CFS usually isn’t a progressive unwellness. Symptoms ar sometimes most severe within the initial year or 2. Thereafter, the symptoms usually stabilize, then persist inveterately, wax and wane, or improve. For some individuals with CFS, however, symptoms can get worse over time.

It seems that whereas the bulk of individuals with CFS partly recover, solely a number of totally recover, whereas others expertise a cycle of recovery and relapse. There’s no way to predict which category you might fall into. There is some evidence that the sooner a person is diagnosed with CFS and symptoms are managed and treated, the better the chances of improvement, which illustrates the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is diagnosed by excluding known medical and psychiatric illnesses that also exhibit fatigue and similar symptoms. It is important to diagnose these conditions because treatments may be available. Diseases that also have fatigue include:

  • hypothyroidism
  • sleep apnea
  • narcolepsy
  • alcohol or substance abuse
  • severe obesity
  • lupus
  • multiple sclerosis
  • cancer
  • depression
  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • dementia

Thus, the diagnosing of CFS is one in every of exclusion—excluding different attainable causes of the symptoms. Some diseases eliminate a diagnosing of CFS, like MS, lupus or a severe medicine disorder like psychosis. It would not offer any advantages in these cases to own a second diagnosing.

The current diagnostic criteria for CFS specify unexplained, persistent fatigue that’s not due to ongoing exertion, isn’t substantially relieved by rest, started recently and leads to significant reduction in previous activity levels. They also require the presence of at least four of the following symptoms:

  • sleep problems
  • impairment in short-term memory or concentration
  • post-exertional malaise occurring within 12 to 24 hours of exertion and lasting 24 hours or more
  • joint pain without joint swelling or redness
  • muscle discomfort or pain
  • headaches of a new type or severity
  • recurrent sore throat
  • tender lymph nodes in the neck and underarms

Multiple subjective symptoms are also reported, and although these are not included in the current diagnostic criteria, they are reported with relative frequency. These include:

  • irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal complaints
  • allergy-like symptoms
  • skin rashes
  • visual disturbances
  • dizziness
  • numbness and tingling in arms and legs
  • sensitivities to various chemicals
  • dry eyes
  • chills
  • night sweats
  • alcohol and medication intolerances

Some CFS patients additionally report gentle to moderate symptoms of hysteria or depression. However, many folks with CFS haven’t got depression or the other medicine unwellness. Depression could also be a secondary result of CFS, not necessarily a primary condition, as people attempt to cope with the changes in lifestyle that living with a chronic illness dictates.

Whether anxiety or depression occurs before or during the illness is not the significant factor; getting help for these distressing conditions is what is essential.

Allergies additionally tend to be a lot of common in CFS patients than within the general population. Many CFS patients have a history of allergies years before the onset of the syndrome. Sometimes patients report a worsening of allergic symptoms or the onset of latest allergies when turning into unwell with CFS. Because allergies ar thus common in individuals with CFS, it’s necessary to spot symptoms caused by allergies so that they will be treated severally.

Your health care professional should take a thorough medical history and conduct extensive physical and mental status examinations, including laboratory tests.


A variety of interventions have been shown to help with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Treatment is based on individual symptoms. If you’re diagnosed with CFS, you’ll probably manage the condition with the following:

  • Symptom-based treatment (e.g., pain medications, sleep medications).
  • Education about the disease.
  • Regular follow-up visits to rule out alternative diagnoses and assess response to therapy.
  • Lifestyle changes. While lifestyle changes cannot cure the symptoms of CFS, they can make life more manageable and enjoyable. Increased rest, the use of stress reduction and management techniques, energy conservation techniques, dietary restrictions, nutritional supplementation and exercise based on personal abilities may be recommended by your health care professional.
  • Staying in condition. It is vital to not become deconditioned as a result of this could complicate your CFS. Certain styles of physical activity like yoga, stretching and qigong can provide symptom relief, in addition to helping maintain your physical condition. Working with a physical therapist may also be useful. Know your limits so you don’t make your symptoms worse.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy. This therapy helps people with CFS identify negative beliefs and behaviors that may be getting in the way of their recovery. It has been shown to help reduce symptoms of CFS. With the assistance of a mental state supplier, cognitive behavior therapy helps you replace negative thoughts with positive, healthy ones.
  • Medication. Certain over-the-counter or prescription medications may help you manage your symptoms. Specifically:
    • For aches and pains, over-the-counter medicines and prescription treatments including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), acetaminophen (Tylenol) and the prescription drug piroxicam (Feldene) may help. Deep massage, stretching, an activity program that has been designed with the help of a physical therapist or chiropractic treatment may also help minimize these symptoms.
    • For sleep issues that accompany CFS, your health care skilled could initial counsel you alter your sleep habits and keep on with a daily hour, skip daytime naps and avoid substances like alcohol and caffeine. If this does not facilitate, he or she could visit a short-run dose of sleep medication.
    • For depression, antidepressants are often used. It typically takes many weeks to envision advantages with antidepressants or to spot aspect effects, so be patient and work with your health care professional to find the medication that is best for you.
    • For allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose or itchy eyes, your health care professional may recommend a non-drowsy antihistamine.

You may additionally have the benefit of keeping associate energy/activity diary. Keep a log for several weeks, noting the times when you feel the most fatigued and what activities you performed during the day. This can assist you determine patterns in your ill health and factors that contribute to your fatigue or alternative symptoms, like headaches. There are several apps available now that you can use on your computer or smartphone to help you track and monitor your CFS.

Also schedule rest periods and alter your schedule to suit your energy patterns. Making time to relax and meditate throughout sure times of the day is also useful, as will avoiding situations you know to be physically or psychologically stressful.

Work with your health care professional to develop a highly individualized activity plan based on your personal capabilities. Some CFS sufferers expertise profound fatigue even when terribly nominal exercise, thus start up slowly and build up step by step. Many people find exercise such as stretching, walking, swimming, biking, water aerobics and relaxation exercises to be helpful in easing their symptoms. A physical therapist may help you put together an exercise program you can do at home.

Diet can also be a good thanks to lead of your ill health. Research suggests that CFS patients have the benefit of a basic healthy diet low in fat and high in fiber with many recent fruits and vegetables. Talk with a specialiser regarding your diet and ways in which foods will facilitate increase your energy levels and relieve symptoms. If you lack the stamina to organize well-balanced meals, let your health care supplier apprehend. Services may be available to assist with obtaining meals. A visit with a dietitian may be needed if you’ve lost or gained weight or been unable to eat a balanced diet.

You should additionally avoid sure triggers that irritate CFS symptoms, such as a chemical, pesticide, household cleaning product or other potential environmental toxins. To identify your triggers, remove all suspected toxins from your environment, then reintroduce them one by one to pinpoint what may be aggravating your symptoms.


Despite a decade of analysis into the origins of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), researchers still don’t know what causes this debilitating disease. Neither area unit there known steps you’ll be able to go for stop CFS. However, analysis into the cause, control and prevention of CFS is being conducted.

Facts to Know

  1. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can affect all races, sexes and socioeconomic groups. It affects women at about four times the rate that it affects men. The condition is most common in people in their 40s and 50s.
  2. Studies find that adolescents are less likely to develop the condition than adults. Cases in children under 12 are even less common.
  3. CFS does not appear to be a new illness. Relatively small outbreaks of similar disorders have been described in medical literature since the 1930s.
  4. This illness is called “chronic fatigue syndrome” because it reflects the most common symptom—long-term persistent fatigue. However, the word fatigue is highly misleading, because it is one symptom among many and can create misunderstanding and trivialization of the illness.
  5. There is no proof to point that CFS is contagious, but organizations like the American Red Cross recommend indefinite deferral of potential blood donors with a past or current history of CFS.
  6. Without objective diagnostic criteria, the prevalence of CFS is difficult to measure. The CDC reports that at least 1 million people in the United States have CFS. CFS can begin suddenly or gradually. The sharp onset generally follows a metastasis, gastrointestinal or other acute infection, including mononucleosis. Other cases develop when emotional or physical traumas like a significant accident, bereavement or surgery. Sometimes there is no obvious trigger for CFS.
  7. The severity of CFS symptoms varies with each individual. Besides debilitating fatigue that does not go away even with rest, several common symptoms of CFS include:
    • sleep problems
    • impaired short-term memory or concentration
    • post-exertional malaise occurring within 12 to 24 hours of exertion and lasting 24 hours or more
    • muscle and joint pain
    • more intense or changed patterns of headaches
    • tender lymph nodes in neck or underarms
    • recurrent sore throat
  8. There is limited long-term data on the ultimate progression or regression of CFS. Symptoms can wax and wane, becoming more severe or improving over time.
  9. No specific diagnostic tests or therapies for CFS exist. If your health care professional has diagnosed you with CFS, treatment will focus on relieving symptoms, improving function and restoring quality of life.
  10. There is no known cause of CFS. Viruses have been linked to the condition, including Epstein-Barr virus; human herpes virus type 6 (HHV-6); enteroviruses; Ross River virus; and rubella. Other infections, such as candida albicans, a fungus that causes yeast infections; bornaviruses, which cause an infectious neurological syndrome called borna disease; mycoplasma, a cause of atypical pneumonia; and coxiella burnetti, the agent that causes rickettsial disease, have additionally been concerned. There is evidence of immune system dysfunction, low blood pressure, endocrine

Key Q&A

  1. If there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), what can my health care professional do to help me?Your health care professional will base your treatment on the symptoms you experience as a result of the illness. It is important to tell your health care professional about any symptoms you experience, since many are also symptoms of other diseases that can be treated. Also remember that new illnesses or conditions may present at any time and are not necessarily related to CFS. These need to be reported and the causes identified. Your health care professional can also recommend support groups and other therapies to help you cope with CFS.
  2. Why do my symptoms seem to come and go?The symptoms are usually most severe in the first year or two. Thereafter, symptoms typically stabilize and then can persist chronically, wax and wane, or improve. Currently, an individual’s course of illness cannot be predicted.
  3. How can my health care professional diagnose CFS if there is no known cause and no diagnostic tests available?Your health care professional will determine if you have CFS based on your symptoms and medical history and through the use of medical tests and examinations that will rule out other probable causes for your symptoms.
  4. Will I ever be cured?There is no cure for CFS at this time. In fact, there is no treatment for CFS, only treatments for the symptoms of CFS, such as headaches, sore throats or sleep problems. Some patients partially recover, a few may fully recover and others may find their symptoms get worse. Others experience periodic relapses. Since little is known about the cause and progression of CFS, the course of your individual illness cannot be predicted. It is important to realize that people with CFS can be helped with appropriate care from a health care provider who understands CFS.
  5. Is CFS contagious?There is no evidence that it can be transmitted through intimate or casual contact or that people with CFS need to be isolated in any way.
  6. What are the symptoms of CFS?Besides debilitating fatigue that is not alleviated by rest, common symptoms of CFS include: more intense or changed patterns of headaches, reduced short-term memory or concentration, recurrent sore throats, tender lymph nodes, muscle discomfort or pain, joint pain without joint swelling or redness and sleep that is unsatisfying and fails to refresh. You may not experience all of these symptoms. The severity of symptoms varies with each individual.
  7. Can CFS be confused with other illnesses or diseases?Yes. That’s why it’s very important you see a health care professional if you suspect you have CFS. Even if you’ve been diagnosed with CFS, talk to your health care professional about any new symptoms or changes in the course of your illness so other conditions can be ruled out.
  8. Besides medical treatments for my symptoms, what can I do to minimize the effects of CFS?Often, health care professionals will suggest lifestyle changes, such as increased rest, the use of stress reduction and management techniques, dietary changes, nutritional supplementation and an individualized activity plan that can help minimize deconditioning. Supportive therapy, such as counseling, can also help to identify and develop effective coping strategies.