Everyone experiences fatigue from time to time. However, for people with chronic fatigue syndrome, feeling tired can become a way of life. This is because the primary symptom of this complex disorder is extreme fatigue that does not decrease with rest.
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Currently, the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown. However, there are many theories throughout the medical community regarding the source of this debilitating disorder. For instance, many physicians believe that this syndrome is the result of extreme physiological stress. Other medical professionals believe that viral infections can lead to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome.
While researchers have not yet pinpointed the cause of this illness, there are many effective ways to treat the symptoms that escort it.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
People often assume that the only symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is extreme fatigue. However, several common symptoms accompany this disorder. These symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain that cannot be attributed to a specific cause
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck or under arms
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Sore throat
- Headaches that increase in frequency or severity
- Joint pain that is not connected to swelling or redness
- Fatigue that is not relieved by sleep
Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome may experience all of these symptoms or just a select few. However, it is important to note that all of these symptoms can also be attributed to several other disorders, many of which will resolve in a short period.
For example, sore throat and headache are extremely common symptoms, which will often result in a feeling of exhaustion. In most cases, individuals will see significant relief from these symptoms within a few days if they are simply suffering from a common illness, such as the flu.
This is why the most important thing to consider when evaluating your own symptoms, is time. The longer your symptoms are present, the more likely it is that these symptoms need to be assessed by a doctor. In general, if you experience one or more of these symptoms for more than five consecutive days, it is best to schedule an appointment with your primary doctor to discuss possible underlying causes, such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?
With no particular diagnostic test, it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose this disorder. In many cases, you will need to wait several months before receiving a final diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. Your doctor must first exclude other possible causes for the symptoms. This includes ruling out sleep disorders, mental health disorders, and other medical issues.
In order to get a final diagnosis, you should experience at least four of the symptoms associated with this disorder, during six consecutive months.
While anyone can be affected by chronic fatigue syndrome, this disorder is most common in women over the age of 40. This fact may also be taken into consideration when making your diagnosis.
What kind of treatment should you expect?
Because there is no known cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, we are not able to cure this disorder. Instead, treatments center on the symptoms. Consequently, the management of your disorder will depend significantly upon the specific symptoms from which you are suffering.
Usually, treatment will rely on medication and physical therapy. Since many people who suffer from this disorder have depression, antidepressants and psychological support may also be required.
A Final Thought
Each person with chronic fatigue syndrome will present with slightly different symptoms and will respond differently to various treatment options. Consequently, it is always best to consult a qualified physician if you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from this disorder. This is true even if you plan to try natural home remedies rather than relying on medications to manage your symptoms.