What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS for short, is a term used to describe a group of symptoms that cause extreme fatigue lasting longer than six months with no evident cause. This can vary from muscle pain and weakness to severe headaches, memory loss, and sleep deprivation.
It has been known to lead to severe mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This condition can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes, but it is often not recognized as a disability.
What Does It Do To A Person?
Some patients have trouble sleeping, while others cannot sleep. Sometimes the symptoms begin suddenly, but they can also develop gradually over several months. The patient may become dizzy from standing up and need to sit down or lie back down straight away. They may feel like the ground is moving under their feet when walking or simply standing up or sitting down.
These include memory loss, sleep disturbance, and concentration difficulties. These issues can make it difficult for the patient to work or do schoolwork. Patients may have trouble with balance and coordination, causing them to stumble over their feet. CFS can result in a significant amount of work disability.
Patients may struggle with simple physical tasks such as standing up, climbing the stairs, or carrying shopping bags. They may also have muscle pain after minimal exercise, making it difficult to exercise. Some patients cannot get in and out of bed without help or assistance from another person. Muscle weakness can cause serious problems for the patient, including falls, increased risk of fractures, and other injuries.
Patients suffer from both acute and chronic headaches that are not caused by a specific cause. These can be caused by extreme fatigue, stress, and hormonal changes. They may occur at any time for no apparent reason. Patients may feel nauseated or have a dry mouth and throat. Some report feeling light-headed when standing up from lying down.
Irritability and Tension
Patients may feel constantly stressed, easily agitated, and overwhelmed. They may suffer irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or panic attacks. This can cause problems in relationships with friends and family members, as patients often cannot function normally within social situations. Fatigue is a constant problem for the patient, who needs to rest more than most. Due to illness and exhaustion, it can be difficult to go to work or school because they do not have the energy to complete tasks without taking time out.
What Are The Possible Causes?
Although the causes of CFS are still unknown, certain triggers can aggravate symptoms.
Hormonal changes can cause severe mood swings and increased sensitivity to light, noise, and odors. Muscle aches are more intense during the beginning of a menstrual cycle or before ovulation. This is caused by hormone fluctuations in the body.
Some patients have a history of glandular fever or mononucleosis before the onset of symptoms. This can make it difficult to determine whether an infection is related to CFS or simply another manifestation of this disorder.
Patients may have a history of trauma, such as a car accident or physical abuse. Trauma can result in post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cause several symptoms.
Rare genetic conditions
CFS is not diagnosed based on the symptoms alone but can be diagnosed by a blood test to see if there is evidence of any condition in the body. There are rare genetic conditions such as familial Mediterranean fever, which can be misdiagnosed as CFS. If the patient is aware of any family history of these conditions, they should mention it to their doctor. Disposition to CFS varies with age and sex. Middle-aged adults and women are most susceptible to CFS.
Treating Chronic Fatigue
Managing the symptoms
Treatment mainly focuses on managing symptoms, such as stress and sleep problems. Medications can be used to relieve pain and reduce headaches. Patients may need to take antidepressants to ease depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Some patients are given a combination of medications for several different conditions.
Rest and Exercise
Patients should avoid strenuous exercise during recovery because it can cause further stress and worsen symptoms. Gentle exercise can help with fatigue and improve mobility, coordination, and strength.
Neurology and Chronic Fatigue
Neurological evaluation can help identify the underlying cause of chronic fatigue. This may help prevent future problems or identify other conditions causing the fatigue. Neurologists can help patients manage symptoms by treating co-existing conditions like mood disorders, sleep disorders, and chronic pain.
The Psychological Effects
A psychologist can help patients manage their stress levels by teaching them breathing and meditation techniques. This can help patients relax and reduce depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy can address the anxiety and stress often associated with CFS, especially in younger patients.
Although CFS is extremely debilitating, it is a treatable illness. Neurology and chronic fatigue specialist can provide comprehensive treatment and help the patient to find effective methods of managing their symptoms. In severe cases, patients may need to be admitted to a hospital or inpatient clinic, where they can receive additional treatments. It is important for the patient to see a Neurologist Fort Lauderdale if they are suffering from symptoms that resemble CFS.
Contact us at Jeff Steinberg MD
If you are looking for an expert Neurologist to guide you for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Contact Dr. Jeff Steinberg.