4 Things Everyone Should Know About Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you lose sleep or overexert yourself over the course of your day, it is very common for you to feel tired and fatigued. However, many people experience long bouts of unexplained fatigue and exhaustion that do not have a clear cause or trigger. This condition is known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
To raise awareness and encourage those who struggle with constant fatigue, May 12th has been designated each year as International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day. This is a day reserved to educate people on the complex nature of CFS, and help provide help and solutions for those who suffer from this condition on an ongoing basis.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complex disorder that can cause you to feel excessively tired and fatigued for extended periods of time, without a clear reason or underlying cause. CFS does not diminish after a night of good rest, and can impact your ability to function effectively throughout the day. CFS can become worse as a result of any strenuous physical or mental activity, and can be highly debilitating for those who suffer from this condition.
What are the Symptoms and Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
CFS has many more symptoms other than excessive fatigue. People who suffer from this disorder will usually have at least 4 of the following symptoms at once, over the course of six months or longer:
- Feeling sick or excessively tired for 24 hours or more following any physical activity
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Muscle pain
- Swollen or sore lymph nodes
- Sore throat
- Trouble sleeping
- Memory lapses or other difficulties with memory recall
According to the Mayo Clinic, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the root cause of CFS, but factors such as age, sex, and stress levels seem to play a large role. Additionally, CFS has been linked to viral infections, immune system deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances.
How Many People Suffer From Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over one million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Women between the ages of 40 and 50 tend to develop this disorder with more frequency, but the syndrome affects people of all races, ages, and sexes.
What Treatments Are Available for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
CFS is quite difficult to diagnose, as many of the symptoms can also resemble those brought on by other illnesses. While there is no cure for this complex condition, the symptoms can be managed and treated through:
- Medicine for pain, sleep disorders, or other illnesses
- Improving sleep habits and quality
- Changes in lifestyle and stress level
- Customized exercise programs
If you feel extremely fatigued for months at a time, and cannot identify a root cause or underlying medical condition causing your exhaustion, then you could be struggling with CFS. Consulting with a sleep expert can help you identify poor sleep habits or underlying sleep-related disorders that could be contributing to your condition. After a sleep study, you can get help you manage your symptoms and improve the overall quality of your life through better sleep.