About chronic viral fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a medical disorder that in most cases has a viral cause, which is why many doctors refer to it as chronic viral fatigue syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is characterized by the state of chronic tiredness or fatigue, lasting no less than six months. In addition, in order for a person to be positively diagnosed for CFS, there has to be no clear cause of the fatigue and also certain cognitive problems.
There is no single definitive cause of CFS, but the doctors believe it is an infectious disease, often viral, with immunologic manifestations. CFS is often misdiagnosed as chronic Epstein-Barr infection, at least until the tests show the absence of that virus.
While many viruses can potentially be involved in chronic fatigue syndrome, a direct causal link has not yet been established.
In the beginning, chronic fatigue syndrome was called encephalomyalgia, because it exhibits the symptoms coming from both the brain and the muscular system. Chronic fatigue alone, without a cognitive component, cannot be diagnosed as CFS.
There are no direct tests that would confirm CFS, which means that the diagnosis is made by excluding other potential causes of fatigue and cognitive difficulties. Because CFS affects the immune system, certain antibodies are increased and are there fore useful as diagnostic clues. In many cases patients with CFS have increased levels of immunoglobulin G, coxsackie B, human herpes virus 6 and pneumoniae titers. There may also be an increased percentage of NK cells.
Symptoms of chronic viral fatigue syndrome
The symptoms of CFS are varied and usually come and go without a specific pattern. Fatigue is the central symptom of this disorder, just as the name suggests. The fatigue is constant and not related to a strenuous activity, lack of sleep and such. Other symptoms include sore throat, problems with memory and concentration, painful and enlarged lymph nodes in neck and armpits, joint pain that migrates from one joint to another without other signs of inflammation, such as redness and swelling and unrefreshing sleep.
Causes of chronic viral fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome can be caused by a virus, except for Epstein-Barr virus, or by the C. pneumonie bacterium.
Even though no definitive relationship between viruses and CFS has been established, many viruses have been considered and examined as potential causes. Some of them include EPV, human herpes virus 6, spumaviruses and T-cell leukemia virus strains.