Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) - Tired of Being Tired?
Posted by: Al Clinics
Date: Oct 22 2018 2:09 PM
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is much more complicated than just feeling tired all the time. It is a debilitating illness that is characterized by extreme fatigue that is not relieved by sleep and/or rest. People with CFS are often confined to their bed and can be overwhelmed by performing simple tasks, such as taking a shower or cooking a meal. This disease does not only present itself physically, but also mentally. CFS can make it hard to think, concentrate and remember details. Although anybody can be affected by this illness, it is more prominent in women between 40 and 60 years old. Statistics from the Institute of Medicine report that about 90% of people with CFS have not been diagnosed. Unfortunately, this illness is misunderstood due to lack of education and its cause is unknown.
Some core symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include lowered capability to perform activities that presented no difficulty before the illness. This is usually followed by fatigue that lasts six months or longer. Many people think that a good night sleep will better their symptoms, but problems falling asleep are common and even after resting, they still feel tired. People with CFS find it hard to think fast, remember details, and can’t focus. All of these symptoms worsen when sitting or standing up, this is called orthostatic intolerance. This illness may also bring muscle pain, aches, and headaches.
To properly be diagnosed, the physician or healthcare provider will ask about medical history of both the patient and the family, do a detailed physical and mental status examination, and may order blood and urine tests. Keeping a daily activity journal will be helpful during the healthcare visit. Patients may also be referred to specialists, like neurologists or sleep experts.
Although there is no cure or concrete treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome, studies are trying different ways to manage this illness. In recent years, low dose naltrexone (LDN) has been considered as an option to treat CFS. The evidence shows that in low doses, naltrexone increases the level of endorphins, which are hormones that promote a positive feeling in the body. This can help fight the feelings of fatigue and pain in patients. From a different point of view, many published papers have debated that CFS is a physiological disorder and not a psychological disorder. To further support this, Dr. Jose Montoya published the results of a placebo-controlled trial using antiviral medicine to treat CFS. He decided to conduct this study after he ordered tests from patients suffering from CFS where he discovered high levels of antibodies in these individuals. After nine months of his placebo-controlled study made up of 30 patients, patients who received the antiviral drug noticeably improved on the fatigue severity scale. Although proved to be successful in this case study, more studies with larger number of patients should be done to provide more supporting evidence.
If you have any questions or concerns about experiencing symptoms of CFS and want to receive more information, contact your primary care physician or come visit us at Alabama Clinics.
Danna Vega Angel
2812 Hartford Hwy, Suite 1
Dothan, AL 36305
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/symptoms-diagnosis/diagnosis.html
HealthRising. Low Done Naltrexone (LDN) Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Resource Center. https://www.healthrising.org/treating-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/drugs/low-dose-naltrexone-ldn-fibromyalgia-chronic-fatigue-syndrom/
Janna Lawrence. (2016). The Pharmaceutical Journal: Fresh evidence points to a cause and possible treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/features/fresh-evidence-points-to-a-cause-and-possible-treatments-for-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/20201439.article?firstPass=false