Chronic fatigue syndrome is a tricky disease to diagnose because many of its symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other types of disorders. As the name suggests, chronic fatigue syndrome involves excessive tiredness (or fatigue) that develops over a period of time and can become debilitating to a persons quality of life.
However, fatigue or prolonged fatigue which it really is in this instance, is a factor in literally hundreds of different kinds of illnesses and therefore isolating the one trait that makes this disease that of chronic fatigue syndrome is not easy for doctors and healthcare practitioners. For example 10 to 25 percent of all patients suffering from one type of health problem or another find themselves experiencing fatigue.
Not your Average Fatigue
It is important to differentiate that fatigue that accompanies CFS from regular fatigue that strikes everyone from time to time. It is normal to feel over tired after a few sleepless nights or after a stressful event or if one is really nervous about something that is coming around the corner. The fatigue of chronic fatigue syndrome is incapacitating and intense, bordering on severe and it is not improved upon by a good nights sleep or even a couple of good night sleeps.
As well taking naps and catching up on rest in every way possible will not make the condition go away. Chronic fatigue syndrome can be made worse by other kinds of mental or physical problems and it can drastically affect an individuals quality of life as energy levels quickly can become depleted which can decrease the sufferers level of stamina.
With little or no energy, a person will begin to change the way she lives her life and often many activities that a person once enjoyed disappear. CFS affects all areas of a persons functioning and this includes their personal life, their social life, their occupation and so forth.
A diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome can only be made conclusively after a series of tests has been done on the patient, however if a person has been suffering from unexplained and prolonged fatigue for a period of six months or longer then CFS is likely to blame. If the patient also exhibits a number of other characteristic symptoms then the doctor is inclined to lean towards a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome.
The characteristic symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are often referred to as primary symptoms and there are eight in total. First of all if a person suffers from cognitive dysfunction, which includes problems concentrating, or impaired memory or even memory lapses then CFS could be to blame.
If a person suffers from Ã¢â‚¬Å“post exertional malaiseÃ¢â‚¬Â that lasts for more than a 24-hour period and it occurs after a strenuous mental or physical exercise then it is likely caused by CFS. If a person wakes up feeling unrested and unrefreshed morning after morning that is another symptom of CFS.
Other characteristic symptoms of CFS include persistent pain in the muscles, pain in the joints that does not include any degree of inflammation or swelling, headaches that are different than any a person has experienced before or headaches or a more intense variety, a sore throat unrelated to a cold or other respiratory condition and cervical or axillary lymph nodes that are tender.
Experiencing a mild and low-grade fever accompanied by the chills is another symptom of CFS as is having a dry, inflamed and very sore throat. If lymph nodes in either your neck or armpits suddenly become swollen or tender this is a symptom of CFS as is a general feeling of muscle weakness or pain in the muscles.
Generalized types of headaches are common with CFS as are new types of headaches that suddenly develop or headaches that are new in their level of severity or the pattern they take. Pain that jumps around from joint to joint but is not accompanied by any level of redness or swelling is a common symptom of CFS as is feeling cold all of the time and night sweats.
Chemical and Environmental Sensitivity
People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome often react negatively to environmental agents such as chemicals, odors, perfumes, cigarette smoke, toxins, pesticides, et cetera and they are often very sensitive to a variety of sounds, sensations, and temperatures. Having Ã¢â‚¬Å“neurally mediated hypotensionÃ¢â‚¬Â is a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Normally when an individual stands up their blood pressure drops down a bit but for those who suffer from CFS it drops down a lot, which can cause the person to become faint or dizzy and sometimes nauseous. The next thing that happens is that the person heart rate drastically drops and this can cause the person to pass out.
Gastrointestinal problems are also a symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome and this includes bloating, constipation and diarrhea. People who suffer from CFS are prone to developing other sicknesses very easily and are susceptible to any number of allergies, infections or viruses.
Problems with mental functioning can also be a symptom of CFS and this includes forgetfulness, extreme irritability, confusion, and problems with concentration. Any one or a combination of these problems could lead to problems at home, at school, at work and with ones social activities.