Feeling tired is normal for most people some of the time. When you feel tired all of the time to the point that you are unable to perform your normal, daily activities, you might be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome. This disorder causes quite a bit of controversy in the medical field as there has not been one significant underlying cause discovered for it as of yet. However, the people that suffer from it have a great deal of trouble as no matter how much sleep they get, they are still chronically tired.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The symptoms of this disorder are more than just feeling tired, although that is the most prominent symptom. Doctors look for these most common symptoms when trying to differentiate between this disorder and many others. Aside from fatigue, patients experience an exhaustion that is unlike any other type ever felt after exerting themselves; the inability to focus or remember things; and headaches that are different from any other headaches felt before. Some patients also experience physical issues, such as pain throughout the body; a sore throat, and swelling throughout various joints. Last, but not least, many people experience swollen lymph nodes. The presence of several or all of these symptoms often points to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Reasons for the Disorder
There is no rhyme or reason for this disorder, thus far. Doctors speculate that it can be caused by a virus, altered immune systems, or possibly imbalanced hormones. Each of these scenarios is hard on the body, and if the body is not able to fully recover, chronic fatigue syndrome can result. This does not mean that every person with a virus or compromised immune system will experience this issue, but many people do, depending on their body’s ability to fight back. Certain people are more at risk for this disorder than others, including women, people over 50, and people under large amounts of stress on a regular basis.
Diagnosing the Disorder
Doctors have a hard time diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome because there is not one test they can use to provide the answer. Due to the fact the symptoms are those that can occur with so many other illnesses, the diagnosis process is very tedious. Oftentimes, patients have to undergo a large amount of testing including sleep tests to determine if you suffer from something like sleep apnea; lab tests to see if there is something such as anemia going on that could leave you without energy; and even psychological tests to determine if you are suffering from anxiety or depression. Once these issues are eliminated, the doctor will consider chronic fatigue syndrome if you experience at least four of the symptoms from above and have experienced them for at least 6 months.
Treating the Disorder
Treating chronic fatigue syndrome is as difficult as diagnosing it. You have to treat the underlying cause, so every person will have a different treatment regimen. For example, if it is determined that anxiety is causing the issue, anti-anxiety medication and therapy may be prescribed. If it is discovered that you have a serious virus that your body cannot fight off, you might be given medication for the virus and/or to help you sleep better to help your body fight it. The doctor will prescribe for you whatever is best for your situation, which could take some time to figure out, so you will have to be patient with the process.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is perhaps one of the most frustrating issues to experience. Due to the length of time it takes to diagnose the disorder and subsequently treat it, many people get frustrated, putting their body under even more stress. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself, eat right, sleep enough, and reduce your stress so that you can fight this syndrome as best as you can.