We usually hear these words ‘I am tired'. Many brush them as a sympathy builder, but there might be more to it.
It could be the prelude to a serious health impairment called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). The origin, cause, and remedial action of CFS are still a mystery to the medical field. CFS can be aggravated by excess mental or physical activity. Unlike most common diseases, rest does not improve the condition.
More technically, these are also called Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease (SEID) or Myalgia Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS). Unfortunately, there is no single diagnostic tool available as of now to detect the incidence of CFS, but a series of tests can help in detection.
The symptoms of CFS are extreme tiredness, dementia, throat infection, lymph nodes, muscular pain, headache, sleeplessness, and exhaustion. Hypersensitiveness may add up the incidence. Frequent flu-like symptoms, sore throats, tender lymph nodes, or new sensitivities to food, medicines, odour, or chemicals, are often seen in people suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Low body temperature, cold hands, and feet, perspiring or feeling worse when under stress are faced by CFS patients. Mild headedness and dizziness, very fast heartbeat, or shortness of breath when active can also be experienced.
Viral infection, mental stress, or the cumulative effect of both could trigger CFS. Viral infections, deficiency of immune system, and hormonal imbalance also can cause CFS. CFS is common at all ages but, does occur more prominently at middle age. Women are more prone to developing CFS. At a psychological level - depression, social stigma, lesser diligence, etc. may crop up. Also, sleep disorders, anaemia, diabetes, hypothyroidism, heart/ lung malfunction as well as a mental imbalance can lead to CFS.
Viruses like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 6, Ross River virus (RRV), and Rubella can induce CFS. Cyclic occurrence, as well as relapse of CFS is also common.
Medication is effective, but the same has to be on a prolonged basis as there is no shortcut treatment for CFS. Psychological treatment (Cognitive training) has shown good results. Sedation and painkillers can result in temporary relief. Regular physiotherapy exercise has proved beneficial. Even alternative medicines are found beneficial, but no concrete research in this perspective is available. Treatments like acupuncture, martial art, yoga, and massage may help relieve the pain and uneasiness associated with CFS.
Psychological treatment to the rescue
More important in treatment is - psychological support to patients. Individual attention is a must as the implication can vary from person to person widely. CFS can even mimic other health conditions. Group therapy and support groups have also shown to be effective for those suffering from CFS.
The ideal attitude and lifestyle can help
Those with a lower level of impairment, strong willpower, and the determination to take up a healthy lifestyle can expect a speedier recovery than those who do not make the right lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are the key to reversing CFS. Avoiding smoking and keeping a regular sleep pattern also helps in a quicker recovery.
People with CFS sometimes have weak immune systems so, all infections must be avoided and treated with utmost care. Although advancements in medical technology have made it easier to diagnose various illnesses, at least 84 to 91 percent of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is yet to be diagnosed.
CFS is real and not an illusion. It calls for an appointment with a doctor on priority.
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