Physical, behavioral and mind changes in CFS and how to deal with them

chronic fatigue syndrome

Everyone feels tired at one time or another. Perhaps we are not getting enough sleep or working too hard. Usually, a few good nights’ sleep and the opportunity to relax will clear up the problem. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), however, will not yield to a little R&R. It may leave for a time but it returns. It is not like ordinary tiredness. People suffering from CFS feel exhausted all the time, they have no energy for even simple, easy tasks. When the term “CFS” was first adopted in 1988, it was believed that the most common symptom was long-lasting fatigue. We now know that there are many more symptoms and that CFS itself is a debilitating and painful disease. It has several other names, including, Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS). This is NOT an imaginary disease, it is quite real.
The cause of CFS is unknown but some researchers feel that a virus might contribute to it. There appears to be evidence of incorrect function of the immune system and the central nervous system may be involved.

Researchers are studying other factors, such as:

Endocrine and metabolic problems – low blood sugar and low iron levels.
Systemic (body-wide) infections – such as candida (yeast infection).
Possibility of genetic inheritance.
Environmental and allergic factors.
Stress. For more information visit

People from all age groups, all races and all economic levels suffer from CFS, and it is three times commoner in women than in men. It is not known whether CFS is contagious. Some clusters of cases have been found in families, schools, etc., but no agents of infection (viruses, bacteria) have been found. Physicians remain divided on whether or not to take precautions against possible infection.

First identified in the 1980s, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is an illness marked by severe fatigue that lasts more than six months. Between one and four million people in the United States — about 2.5 percent of the population — have chronic fatigue symptoms, which can cause them to struggle through the day with only about half of their previous energy levels. Also called chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, CFS is sometimes the result of other health conditions.

A number of conditions, illnesses, and diseases cause chronic fatigue and other symptoms attributed to CFS. These conditions include major depression, fibromyalgia, neurasthenia, chemical sensitivities and allergies, chronic mononucleosis, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea and narcolepsy, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders, cancer, autoimmune diseases, hormonal disorders, infections, obesity, alcohol or substance abuse, and reactions to prescribed medications

CFS is often confused with the chronic fatigue associated with many other diseases including chronic Lyme disease and interstitial cystitis. There is no diagnostic test for CFS, so in order to establish a diagnosis, a physician takes a medical history and performs a physical examination. All underlying conditions need to be found and treated.

A patient with CFS will have:

Unexplained, persistent chronic fatigue that has occurred recently and has not been present all through the patient’s life.
Fatigue that is not caused by hard, physical work or exercise and is not helped by rest.
Chronic exhaustion resulting in an inability to perform in sports, work or social activities as they did before onset of CFS.

The main symptoms of CFS include:

Loss of short term memory and power of concentration
Pain without swelling in several joints
Muscle pain
Headaches of a different type from those experienced before onset of CFS
Difficulty sleeping and sleep which does not refresh
Sore throat
Tender lymph nodes
Malaise (feeling of illness) after any physical exertion

Other symptoms not seen in all patients include:

Problems thinking, inability to remember what has been read or to do calculations
Speech difficulties
Vision problems – eye pain, light sensitivity, vision changes
Psychological problems, including depression, personality changes and mood swings
Menstrual problems
Miscellaneous problems, including:
Dizziness, lightheadedness and fainting
Chills, low grade fever, sensitivity to heat and cold
Chest pains irregular heartbeat
Digestive problems (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
Unexplained weight changes
Numbness and tingling
Dry mouth and eyes
Ringing in the ears
Skin rash
Muscle twitches

Treatment may differ from person to person because it is directed at relieving the symptoms.

It will include rest and little or no exercise and some dietary changes may be necessary.

Cut back on saturated fats and limit sugars and processed foods that can cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate wildly. Eat plenty of colorful vegetables, lean meat and fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.

For more information visit Healthy eating is the key to good health, a sense of well-being and being able to give your best both at work and at play (source)

Avoid overexertion

Adopt a reasonable schedule

Counseling may help to reduce stress. This is important because stress appears to worsen the condition and may even contribute to relapse.

The effect of treatment is unpredictable. Some persons improve or even recover but others have periods of recovery alternating with recurrences, yet others do not improve and some become worse. CFS that has a gradual onset is less likely to lead to full recovery than rapid onset CFS.

Persons who are seriously ill with CFS should not donate blood or organs, for they may not be able to tolerate immunizations or not make antibodies after being immunized. If you have CFS, you should consult your physician before taking any medication.

If you suffer from CFS you will find that the level of exercise your body can tolerate will change, even moderate exercise may become impossible. Some light exercise may be recommended. No CFS patient should push their body too hard.

CFS is real and it is treatable