Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS), is a disabling condition affecting approximately 500,000 Americans. Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that fewer than 20% of CFS patients in the United States have even been diagnosed. Patients are usually women in their 40s and 50s, but anyone can develop CFS. Patients with CFS typically have a compromised immune system, elevated blood antibodies, intermittent sore throats, and tender lymph nodes. CFS can affect any part of the body, including the central nervous system, the brain, the blood, muscles, joints, the gastrointestinal tract, and the immune, digestive, and lymph systems.
According to a recent update from healthfinder.gov:
Health Tip: Warning Signs That You May Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Here are possible symptoms
Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by extreme tiredness and a feeling of being worn out all the time, even after waking up. Its cause isn’t understood.
The U.S. National Women’s Health Information Center says chronic fatigue syndrome may have these symptoms:
* Extreme tiredness for longer than 24 hours, especially after exercise.
* Forgetfulness, or difficulty maintaining focus.
* Tiredness that persists after sleep.
* Muscular aches and pains.
* Joint pain that isn’t accompanied by redness or swelling.
* Headaches that vary in severity, pattern or type.
* Soreness of the lymph nodes beneath the arm or in the neck.
* Sore throat.
Other than the main signs and symptoms described in that update, the following are other symptoms associated with CFS:
Visual disturbances (blurred vision, sensitivity to light, eye pain)
Psychological problems (depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, irritability)
Chills and night sweats
Shortness of breath
Balance problems, dizziness, lightheadedness
Bowel problems (diarrhea, constipation, intestinal gas, abdominal pain)
Numbness, tingling, and/or burning sensations
Sensitivity to heat and/or cold
Menstrual problems (PMS, endometriosis)
Dry mouth and eyes
Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
Sensitivity to odors, sound, chemicals, and medications
It is truly a debilitating dis-ease!
CFS involves interactions between the immune and the central nervous system that are still not fully understood, although it seems that it is triggered by several factors working together. One of the most discussed factors has been the role of viruses. For example, a large number of people with CFS may have Epstein Barr virus, which is believed to cause infectious mononucleosis. But it is entirely possible that this may be a secondary infection resulting from the suppression of the immune system due to the CFS itself. Other suspected virus include herpesvirus-6, enteroviruses, and retroviruses. In fact, a recent study showed a potential connection with a retrovirus known as XMRV: 67% patients with CFS from different parts of the United States were infected with this retrovirus and only less than 4% of the controls carried the virus. This retrovirus is very similar to a group of viruses that can cause cancer and neurological and immunological diseases in mice.
Others factors that seem to be involved include chemical and heavy metal toxicity. Toxins such as mercury, lead, formaldehyde, aluminum, and pesticides cause a dysregulation in our immune systems and they also damage our body organs including our brain. The process probably is initiated with a genetic predisposition related to our ability to detoxify chemicals, which in itself can be initiated by chemical toxins and heavy metals, or infections as well.
If you need more information on this condition and want to know how to treat it, I highly recommend reading Beating and Treating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Dr. Rodger Murphree. It is truly an excellent book on the subject and it does provide several protocols that can deal successfully with CFS.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell you About Autoimmune Disorders by Stephen B. Edelson, M.D. and Deborah Mitchell
Beating and Treating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by Dr. Rodger Murphree
Virus linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. Published online 8 October 2009 | Nature | doi:10.1038/news.2009.983
Lynn Gilderdale’s distressing diary shows that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME can be real and catastrophic