Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
So what is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
When doctors refer to chronic fatigue they are usually referring to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis also known as ME
However chronic fatigue can be a symptom of many health conditions and is not exclusive to ME.
It is more common in women than men and tends to develop during the child bearing years. It is increasingly being seen in teenagers and young adults.
Main symptoms of Chronic Fatigue
- Chronic fatigue is a persistent disabling mental and physical exhaustion that is not relieved by sleep or rest that impacts negatively on your everyday life
Other symptoms that may be associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Many of the associated symptoms are non specific and may also be associated with many other conditions including chronic stress.
- Symptoms may be made worse by exercise
- There may be an associated sleep disturbance
- Joint and muscle aches
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering
- It may follow from a viral flu like illness or sore throat
Other causes of Chronic Fatigue
As the symptoms are non specific, and there is no reliable test for ME, it is often a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that it is important to exclude other medical conditions that may cause the symptoms.
Conditions that may need to excluded:
- Under-active Thyroid
- Kidney or liver disease
- Chronic stress
- Other underlying medical conditions
What actually causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
As yet doctors do not really know what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. There are several theories as to what the causes may be and in fact there are probably multiple causes and they may work in combination:
- Post viral after a throat infection or flu virus in a similar way to the symptoms that can develop after glandular fever
- Chronic stress and overstimulation of the 'fight or flight reflex' may lead to a condition known commonly as 'adrenal burnout'
- Hormone imbalances
- Immune imbalances
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome treatment
Once other causes of chronic fatigue have been excluded, treatment is aimed at improving the symptoms, as the condition usually improves and resolves with time.
Things that may help reduce symptoms of CFS:
- A gentle graded exercise program that gradually increases
- Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
- Chronic fatigue is often associated with chronic stress and 'adrenal burnout" so reducing and managing stress may be helpful.
- Relaxation classes, pilates or Yoga may be helpful
- If poor sleep is a problem then establish a good sleep routine-you may need to use a relaxing bedtime ritual and banish all computers, laptops, phones and TV's from bedroom. Avoid use of screens after 9pm as they emit a blue light that disturbs our natural sleep patterns
- Consider gradually reducing caffeine intake although, this can be a problem for some who are using caffeine to keep them going.
Chronic fatigue syndrome diet
- Eating a healthy balanced diet with lots of vegetables and reducing sugar intake can help
What to do if you think that you may have CFS
If you think that you have CFS then you may wish to see your GP to discuss this, so that they can exclude any other conditions.
TATT or 'tired all the time' is one of the most common complaints that female patients present to their GP's with. Often they are busy mums who are juggling many balls, and it is no surprise to their GP's that they are exhausted.
We have a test pack that screens for the common medical conditions of diabetes, under-active thyroid, diabetes and contains a kidney and liver check urine check.