Chronic fatigue syndrome is commonly abbreviated as CFS andit is actually an umbrella term for a group of debilitating medical disorders.It is easily characterized by persistent fatigue which lasts for at least sixmonths, is not caused by any exertion or other medical conditions and cannot berelieved by rest. This medical condition is also sometimes referred to aschronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, post viral fatigue syndrome ormyalgic encephalomyelitis. The exact cause of this medical condition is stilllargely unknown although it is classified as a disease which affects thenervous system. There are numerous different types of physiological andpsychological factors which can be held responsible for the development andmaintenance of the chronic fatigue syndrome. There are no predefined methods ofdiagnosis for this medical condition. The first cases of chronic fatiguesyndrome date back to Los Angeles in 1934, when there was an outbreak of whatthey referred to as atypical poliomyelitis. The first time the condition wasmedicinally referred to as chronic fatigue syndrome was in 1987.
Fatigue often occurs as a symptom in numerous differenttypes of medical conditions and is considered as a fairly common thing, but themedical condition known as chronic fatigue syndrome tends to be rare. According to certain statistical data therecan be as much as 3,000 cases of chronic fatigue syndrome for every 100,000adult persons. Medicinal agencies claim that there are more than a million citizensof the United States who are affected by the chronic fatigue syndrome, butunfortunately enough, out of all those there are approximately 20 percent ofthe cases which are diagnosed. There are also approximately 250,000 citizens ofthe United Kingdom who are affected by the chronic fatigue syndrome. Thismedical condition may affect people from all different racial and ethnicgroups, but according to statistics, people who belong to lower income groupsare at a slightly increased risk of getting affected. It is also an interestingfact that Native Americans and African Americans are at a much higher risk ofdeveloping chronic fatigue syndrome than the White American majority. Women arecommonly affected by chronic fatigue syndrome much more often than men. The agegroup which gets affected the most are the people who are between 40 and 59years of age. Adolescents and children may also get affected by the chronicfatigue syndrome, but there are much less cases than in adults.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
The list of symptoms associated with chronic fatiguesyndrome can get quite extensive but the most common ones include respiratoryproblems, cardiac problems, depression, digestive disturbances, orthostaticintolerance, increased sensitivity to smells, increased sensitivity to sounds,increased sensitivity to light, muscle weakness, physical exhaustion, mentalexhaustion, cognitive difficulties, headaches, sore throat, joint pain, musclepain, unrefreshing sleep and post exertional malaise.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is very hard to treat and not allpatients get to experience a full recovery. The most common types of treatmentoptions for those who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome include cognitivebehavioral therapy, graded exercise therapy, pacing and certain types ofmedications. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a certain form of psychologicaltherapy which tends to be very efficient in helping patients understand theirindividual symptoms and develop certain strategies which would help themfunction normally from day to day. One of the problems associated with thismethod is that its effects may sometimes diminish once the therapy iscompleted. There are also reports on certain cases of chronic fatigue syndromewhich were actually worsened by the utilization of the cognitive behavioraltherapy. Graded exercise therapy is a certain type of physical therapy, whichsuffers from the same problem as its aforementioned counterpart. Its benefitsget gradually decreased once the therapy is completed. It is very important to know that one may suffer from certain detrimental effects of gradedexercise therapy if he or she does not avoid the exacerbation of symptoms whichmay sometimes occur during the therapy. Pacing is another method of treatmentand it is actually an energy management strategy based on behavioral changes,daily activity goals and a proper balance of activities and rest. There arealso certain types of medications which are sometimes used for the treatment ofchronic fatigue syndrome and those include immunomodulatory agents andantidepressants.
Prognosis: Recovery and Mortality
There are 5 percent of all cases of chronic fatigue syndromewhich experience full recovery. Those who experience improvement of the symptomsare somewhere around 40 percent of all cases. There are only a small number ofcases which can return to work after the therapy. There are also approximately 10percent of cases which even experience worsening of the symptoms. In most cases,people who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome commonly die of heart failure,certain types of cancer, or they commit a suicide.