Today we’re talking Chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis and treatment. Don’t know what chronic fatigue syndrome is? Chronic fatigue syndrome, also know as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is described as a long term illness with the most common symptom being extreme tiredness. We all get tired and feel exhausted at times. But CFS is not just a case of being tired. It’s feeling exhausted for at least six months, no sleep or rest helps and the symptoms can be so severe it can get in the way of your normal daily life and activities. Any kind of physical activity can leave you feeling worse, and so tired and drained that you feel like you can barely move. You can wake up in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept at all.
The extreme fatigue does not improve with bed rest and daily tasks like getting dressed can leave you exhausted. Sounds familiar? Read on for Chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis and treatment options.
Diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome
Whilst it is not entirely sure what causes Chronic fatigue, and there is currently no cure for Chronic Fatigue, symptoms can be treated and managed. However it is quite difficult to diagnose. There are many other conditions that have similar symptoms, so your doctor would rule out other things first. In many cases Chronic fatigue can trigger depression too.
Chronic Fatigue can suddenly begin after a surgery or traumatic incident, possibly even after a bout of flu or a viral or bacterial infection. A hormone imbalance could also trigger Chronic fatigue. It can develop gradually and and last for months or even years. The symptoms appear to be at their most severe in the first two years.
So what are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue?
- Extreme tiredness & exhaustion
- Sleep problems & disturbances
- Joint & muscle pain
- Feeling sick & dizzy
- Heart palpitations
- Flu like symptoms
- Loss of concentration or memory
The severity of these symptoms can vary on a daily basis. If you suffer from any of these symptoms it is always recommended that you seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider will be able to discuss and create a treatment plan for you. You should discuss the benefits and any side-effects of the therapies you may decide to try. Each different symptom may need a different kind of treatment that will help you to manage Chronic fatigue and help to relieve the symptoms. You should try and tackle your toughest symptoms first.
Treatment options for Chronic Fatigue
How to improve chronic fatigue syndrome yourself
Lifestyle changes can manage to help your symptoms. Cutting down or completely eliminating your caffeine intake can help you sleep better. Also try to reduce or cut out alcohol and nicotine.
Try not to take naps or sleep during the day, especially if you are struggling to sleep at night time. Try and get a good sleep routine going. Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning. You can try over the counter remedies or your doctor may prescribe you something, but there is always the chance that they can leave you feeling drowsy during the day!
Anyone suffering from Chronic fatigue also suffers from post-exertion malaise (PEM). This is described as a worsening of symptoms from any minor physical, mental or emotional exertion. The symptoms usually occur 12 hours after after the activity but can last for days or possibly even weeks. This is when you have to manage your activity to avoid PEM flare ups. You have to find a way to balance activity and rest, find your individual limits. Don’t over do it on a good day.
Alternative treatments are said to be beneficial for Chronic fatigue. You also have to have mental rest as well as physical, so practising Meditation or deep breathing exercises are also said to help. Maybe trying Yoga or Tai Chi as it is a less energetic form of exercise, and it is focused based too. Over exercising will probably make you feel worse, so please don’t go spending hours at the gym as this will be counter productive.
Massage, acupuncture and relaxation therapy
A gentle massage or relaxation therapy may help to relieve some of your other symptoms, and help your mind and body relax. The benefits of Acupuncture are huge, so this could be a really helpful treatment to try.
Then there are “talking therapies”. We all know the amazing benefits and results from counselling. So see if there is a local support group in your area. Cognitive Behavioral therapay (CBT), might help to reduce symptoms. It can also help with depression, anxiety and stress that seem to go along with Chronic fatigue.
Homeopathy and supplements
Homeopathy and Herbal remedies are also an option, and there are various forms of treatments available. Recommended supplements are Siberian ginseng, Liquorice extract and Gingko to name a few. But always do your research and always seek a professional practitioner.
So what is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex illness and doctors can’t seem to agree on it at all. Some think it is a psychological illness, some say it is definitely physical. Some say it doesn’t even exist at all. But tell that to someone who struggles to walk across a room because they’re so fatigued.
If you have any of the symptoms please see you GP for Chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosis and treatment. It may take a while to get an actual diagnosis, and there will probably be blood test, physical exams and a discussion about your medical history and your current symptoms.
Be aware it can take at least six months before you get an actual diagnosis as there is no medical test and it is a case of ruling out other things first. Along with no test for Chronic fatigue, there is also no cure. You will have to try various options, a bit of trial and error to see and decide what works for you. You may want to try alternative therapies or medications. Try and manage you symptoms and your expectations, it seems to be a fairly long road to recovery. But you can make a full recovery and get your life back to normal. It just seems to take time.