The chronic fatigue syndrome is a disease characterized by a state of profound fatigue that lasts for at the least six months, and in no case better with rest. The feeling of extreme fatigue usually negatively interferes with daily activities, such as work or social relationships.
The symptoms of this disease in a high percentage of cases are linked to other disorders, which is why 90% of the cases of chronic fatigue syndrome that occur globally have not been diagnosed. Studies indicate that it is a disease that affects between 15 and 30 million worldwide, the vast majority women.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
It is known as chronic fatigue syndrome to a serious disorder that greatly affects different functions of the body, and even prevents the person from carrying out their daily activities.
The main symptom that characterizes this disorder is fatigue and tiredness , which are felt in an extreme way. They are not even relieved by prolonged periods of rest. In a high percentage of cases, these signs are accompanied by others such as difficulty in both attention and concentration , nausea and dizziness.
It is a disease that can affect everyone, including children and adolescents. However, it is more common in people between 40 and 60 years old, especially affecting women.
Despite the numerous investigations that have been carried out to clarify what the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are, they are still not known for sure. However, experts agree that there are three risk factors that can lead a person to develop this disease.
Certain infections, such as measles, or the Epstein-Barr virus , responsible for mononucleosis, significantly increase the risk of suffering from this disorder.
Weakened immune system
All those conditions that weaken the immune system, such as allergies or HIV, increase the risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome.
The stress is one of the major diseases of the XXI Century, which affects both children and adults. Stress can derive from different areas, such as work or personal, among others. If not adequately treated in the short term, it can lead to serious health conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome
As we have pointed out, the main symptom that accompanies this disease is fatigue and tiredness , which are not relieved even after a period of rest. The feeling of exhaustion is extreme, and in some cases it even reaches such a point that the person is unable to get out of bed in the morning.
Such a state of fatigue usually leads to short-term memory loss, as well as increasing difficulty with both attention and concentration.
Another of the signs of chronic fatigue syndrome is swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpits . The joint and muscle pain generalized is a symptom that also occurs frequently.
And finally, highlight the headache, which is very intense and also lasting over time.
A set of symptoms that, although it is true that they are not serious, do significantly damage the personal, professional and social life of those who suffer from this disorder.
Given the symptoms described in the previous point, it is advisable to see a doctor to establish the proper diagnosis and determine the treatment to follow.
In the first place, he prepares the clinical history of the patient , taking into account the indications he presents. In addition, it evaluates other factors such as the presence of any type of disease that can give rise to that feeling of extreme fatigue, or the administration of medications that cause chronic fatigue syndrome. It also studies whether the patient has any type of mental disorder such as depression.
If deemed appropriate, the doctor recommends that the patient consult a therapist , who will be in charge of determining how the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome affect their mental health; To do this, it analyzes factors such as memory, personality …
Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome
So far there is no specific type of treatment to combat chronic fatigue syndrome. The doctor may recommend the administration of certain medications to alleviate some of the symptoms of this disease, such as headache or muscle and joint pain.
In general, it is recommended to make a series of changes in lifestyle , which can be of great help to reverse the situation and improve the prognosis in the medium and long term.
The practice of physical exercise is the most advisable since it increases energy levels both physically and mentally and, in addition, generates a great feeling of well-being. Of course, sports activity must be accompanied by a balanced and healthy eating plan. Doctors agree that those with CFS should avoid large meals, as well as processed foods, alcohol, and caffeine.
And finally, taking into account that stress is one of the most common causes of this disease, it is convenient to reduce it as much as possible and lead a lifestyle that is as calm and relaxed as possible.
There are a series of complications related to chronic fatigue syndrome that are interesting to know.
One of the most common is depression . It must be borne in mind that the person is fully aware of their situation and everything that this feeling of extreme fatigue implies. Thus, if this situation is prolonged in time, there is a certain risk that the person in question will develop depression; a mental illness characterized by a feeling of deep sadness that leads to mood swings, irritability, pictures of anxiety …
In the same way, this disease can lead to social isolation since in many cases the person does not have enough strength to leave home. In this way, the isolation from their environment is increasing, which in turn favors the development of depression.
Complications can also occur in the professional field. Chronic fatigue syndrome can make it impossible for a person to go to work.
Tips to know if you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome
So far there is no medical test that allows us to know definitively that a person suffers from this disorder. As we have pointed out, despite the numerous medical advances made in recent years, it continues to be a difficult disorder to diagnose. Experts have established two criteria to facilitate diagnosis.
One of the most relevant factors is the period of time during which the feeling of extreme tiredness is repeated. Those who suffer from this disorder feel the lack of energy for months , for no apparent reason for it. It is common for it to interfere with their daily activities since it can be very difficult for people to get out of bed in the morning and even perform simple tasks such as getting dressed or eating breakfast.
Thus, it is a disease that has negative repercussions on the personal, professional and social life of those who suffer from it.
As for the symptoms of the disorder, four or more of the following should be present: difficulty in concentration and attention, problems in short-term memory, muscle and / or joint pain, severe headache, not feeling rested even after sleep and persistent tiredness.
Responses to chronic fatigue
Experts estimate that this disorder affects between 0.5 and 2 percent of the population; of all the cases presented, 90% are women. For many, many years it has been believed that it is a mental disorder, so that the symptoms of extreme exhaustion and exhaustion were only in the patients’ heads. But nothing could be further from reality, as recently carried out studies point out.
One of the latest research on chronic fatigue syndrome has been carried out by scientists at the University of Newcastle. For this they have studied a total of 50 people with this disorder and another 35 healthy. In both groups they have taken samples of cells known as PBMC, which are part of the immune system. Well, the scientists determined that there were differences between the two groups regarding the oxidative mechanisms of cells to produce energy.
In this way, scientists have been able to show that those people exposed to stressful situations, these cells are not capable of producing the energy necessary for normal functioning. People with CFS only work at 50% of their full capacity .
In conclusion, highlight the fact that one of the great difficulties of this disorder has to do with its complicated diagnosis . The symptoms, beyond extreme fatigue and tiredness, are nonspecific, so they are frequently related to those of other diseases.
It is even more complicated in children and adolescents because chronic fatigue syndrome is linked to learning disorders or attention deficit.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.