Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disorder in which extreme fatigue and other symptoms cannot be explained by another condition. It is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).
Symptoms of CFD
The primary symptom of CFD is extreme fatigue or lethargy. Other symptoms may vary from person to person, but may include the following:
- Cognitive and memory problems
- Sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Migrating joint pain
- Unusual headaches
- Poor sleep patterns
- Exhaustion, especially after exercise or activity
Causes of Chronic Fatigue
To date, there is not a definite known cause of CFD. It has been observed that symptoms often begin after a viral infection such as Epstein-Barr Syndrome, herpes, or rubella. There is also evidence that low blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and autoimmune diseases may play a part in CFD developing.
There are several diseases in which the symptoms mimic those of CFD. If you are experiencing the symptoms of CFD you should visit your doctor and see if you have the following disorders ruled out:
- Lyme disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
Fibromyalgia and the Autoimmune Connection
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. It is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and “tender points” of pain or sensitivity on the neck, back, chest, hips, elbows, hips, and knees. It is most often diagnosed in women between the ages of 20-55.
There are those in the medical profession who believe fibromyalgia and CFD are essentially the same disorder. They do share several of the same symptoms such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleep disorders: this is caused by a lack of REM sleep
- Irritable bowel syndrome such as Crohn’s disease or chronic constipation
- Headaches: especially cluster and migrating headaches
- TMJ: temporomandibular joint disorder is a stress disorder of the jaw
- Cognitive problems- confusion or concentration problems
Many physicians do believe fibromyalgia and CFD are different disorders even though they have many symptoms in common.
One of the main differences between the two disorders is that CFD is most characterized by severe fatigue while fibromyalgia’s primary symptom is the overall pain. Additionally, fibromyalgia is not associated with a virus or a sore throat.
Interestingly, whether the disorders are the same or characterized as different diseases, many agree that there is little reason to debate about it because the conditions can be treated the same – procedural treatments or lifestyle changes.
Certainly, CFD, fibromyalgia, or any of the diseases associated with it should be dealt with professionally. However, there are lifestyle practices and natural supplements you can take to help alleviate the conditions and to achieve a healthier you in general:
- Diet: of course, a healthy diet is important. It is especially essential with inflammation related conditions that you limit white flour, sugar and additives in your diet. Caffeine and alcohol should also be consumed in moderation.
- Exercise: it is important to have low-impact activity every day, a combination of weight-bearing and aerobics is best.
- Vitamins and herbs: the supplements you take should always be checked against other medication, but some of the most popular are Vitamin C, Ginseng, L- Carnitine, and EFAs.
There is help available to alleviate the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. For treatments that we offer at MJA Healthcare, call 570-872-9800.