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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Basic Facts

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Do you feel constantly tired every now and then even if you think you have rested adequately? If so, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome.

Facts about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

So what is chronic fatigue syndrome? Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease which can cause persistent fatigue or exhaustion which can affect most aspects of everyday life and would simply go away with adequate sleep or rest. In other countries, it is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, due to the fact that it causes myalgia or muscle pain and encephalomyelitis which means inflammation of the brain and the spinal cord. Thousands of people are affected by chronic fatigue syndrome nowadays. This problem usually develops in the early 20s and can persist until the mid 40s. Older children may also be affected, usually between the ages 13 and 15 years old.

Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect our life. It can be mild or moderate in intensity, however one out of four people may have severe symptoms. Mild symptoms mean that the person is able to take care of himself but only needs a few days to rest. Moderate symptoms mean that the person has reduced mobility, disturbed sleep and needs to sleep during the afternoon. Severe symptoms mean that the person may have to carry out only minimal tasks everyday because of the condition and that he may have reduced mobility. This person with severe chronic fatigue syndrome may also have difficulty in concentrating.

There is no known cause for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, chronic fatigue syndrome may develop after a viral infection. Often times, it may also be due to problems in the immune system or an imbalance of hormones. It may also be due to psychiatric problems such as emotional trauma or stress. There are people who are more prone to this illness more than anyone else. More research is currently ongoing to determine the exact causes of this illness.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is often diagnosed through signs and symptoms and physical examination. These symptoms may persist from weeks to months. If fatigue lasts for many months, the suspicion for chronic fatigue syndrome is high. There are criteria set for physicians that can help them diagnose this disorder. There may also be accompanying symptoms such as loss of appetite, sleeping problems or problems in thinking or concentrating.

Not all people would need expert medical help. However, the doctor should be approached in cases when chronic fatigue syndrome is accompanied by flu-like symptoms that come and go, and are accompanied by extreme fatigue and weakness. Also a doctor should be consulted when the fatigue is felt for longer than 24 hours, even after sleep, and after exercise. Other symptoms that may warrant visits to the doctor include aches and pains in the joints and muscles without redness or swelling, unusually headache, sore throat and tenderness in the lymph nodes of the neck or underarms.


There is also no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. Treatments are usually prescribed to reduce symptoms. Each treatment may affect a patient differently, so that a treatment plan should be tailored out to the patient by the doctor. Main treatments for this illness include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), graded exercise therapy which is a structured exercise programme for chronic fatigue syndrome and medications to control sleeping problems, nausea, vomiting or pain. These treatments are all helpful in relieving the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, yet these people often do not make a full recovery. The illness may also have a waxing and waning course and may either give rise to better or worse symptoms. More research is currently done to discover targets sites for chronic fatigue syndrome

To know more about chronic fatigue syndrome, feel free to read more of our articles on this site.