Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term condition of a complex nature. While the causes are not yet known, its impact can be quite significant. The symptoms of CFS can vary from one person to another, causing varied physical impact. In medical parlance, this condition is also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). It is estimated that this problem afflicts about 17 to 24 million people globally. There are no official estimates for India but the number of cases is rising.
There is no apparent permanent cure for CFS, and it is difficult to diagnose as well. Extreme fatigue on its own is generally taken seriously. It can also be taken as a symptom of many other diseases. Hence, there are chances of misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis.
Diagnosing the syndrome
One of the major challenges in establishing CFS is the absence of any standardised test. The typical way is to eliminate other likely causes for the symptoms to reach a conclusion. An early identification of the problem can facilitate quicker symptom management. As part of the diagnostic process, the patient undergoes physical and mental examination on various parameters to zero-in on the actual problem. The physician generally enquires about recent travel, insect bites, infections, substance or alcohol dependence etc. This is followed by various tests and monitoring of medication given.
Diagnosis happens usually after three to four months of monitoring the situation and establishing the pattern in which the symptoms occur. During this period, multiple regular blood tests are conducted to check whether the symptoms are caused by other likely illnesses. A more intensive examination of the patient may be required if there is uncertainty about the cause of the symptoms.
Managing the problem
CFS is an incurable, but manageable ailment. The severity of the disease varies from person to person, and it is highly recommended that those suffering from the symptoms to contact a specialist and follow recommendations. Treatment can only help keep the symptoms under control. Alongside medication, they are often required to make changes to their daily lifestyle to cushion the impact of this ailment.
Treatment is usually long and can include medication or cognitive behavioural therapy. Most people recover with treatment, although it may take two years or even years. Those who are diagnosed early (within two years of the beginning of the symptoms) respond better to treatment.
Lifestyle and diet changes are recommended. The diet should include more protein, moderate amount of carbohydrates and more antioxidants and good fats like omega 3. probiotics should also be included regularly.
Avoid sugary and refined foods as they suppress the immune system and increase inflammation, lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar, followed by a crash (hypoglycaemia). It can cause fatigue, anxiety and cravings. Avoid caffeine as it is a diuretic and aggravates adrenal exhaustion, and amplifies anxiety, stress and fatigue-related symptoms.
A break from gadgets can check mental fatigue. Arm yourself to tire out the fatigue.
A panel at the Institute of Medicine, USA, in a report on CFS suggests a …read more
Source:: Daily times