Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects people of all ages and is where you just feel tired all of the time. This is a very frustrating condition that has no known cause or cure. Fortunately there are things that can be done to make you feel better and this article will discuss the latest treatment options to help you with this condition.
What is it?
Being tired is particularly common in today’s society especially because people are working longer hours and are generally under more stress. People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome are exhausted and feel weak most of the time with no obvious cause. This condition stops those from getting on with normal life and they are often unable to carry on with their normal daily activities. CFS has another name called myalgic encephalomyelitis and this condition can last from months to years and can be said to come and go over that time.
As the name implies them main symptom here is that people feel really tired most of the time and as such they are unable to carry on with everyday activities. The tiredness is not only physical but is often medical as well. Alongside this there may also be pain in the muscles, changes in mood and difficulty with sleeping. Often CFS is the beginning of another condition such as a bad cold. Many people say that CFS begins when one is stressed, however it can also come on randomly for no apparent reason. If there is some concern that you may have this condition then you should visit your doctor. This way your doctor will be able to tell you whether the tiredness is caused by CFS or by something else. Some of the other causes of long term tiredness include: depression , anorexia, bulimia, alcohol or drug abuse, ongoing stress, long lasting infection, anemia, diabetes, problems with your thyroid gland, obesity and pregnancy. It is very important that your doctor is able to check for other conditions that may be causing tiredness, as many of these are curable.
There is difficulty in treating this condition as no one really knows what causes it and there is no real cure. However there are several treatments that may help you live a more active and enjoyable life whilst you suffer from this condition.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a method of treatment that does not use medication and instead relies on the power of conversation to provide treatment. This form of therapy alters the way in which one thinks and behaves in an attempt to make one feel less exhausted. There is good evidence that this type of therapy is effective in helping those with CFS feel less tired. This therapy may also help to make children with CFS attend school more frequently. This takes place over several sessions with a trained therapist and there is no evidence to suggest that there are any side effects.
There is also evidence to suggest that aerobic exercise may be useful in the treatment of CFS. There are several ways to do this and some of the best methods are running, cycling and swimming. You should do these activities for at least half an hour everyday. In this form of exercise you should begin gently and try not to exert yourself too much. It is believed that those who exercise too frequently may get worse and that this should be built up gradually over time.
Unfortunately no one has done any research to see if people who suffer from CFS show any benefit from resting for a long period of time. This is not something that is recommended by most doctors and studies on those with other conditions that last for a long period of time show that long-term rest can actually make things worse. However it cannot be said whether or not this is true for those with CFS. There are no medicines that are particularly good at helping those with this condition. Some that have been tried are antidepressants, steroids and vitamin and mineral supplements.
This condition can last for many years and although it can make you feel very ill and depressed it is not a dangerous condition from a medical point of view. There is good news in the sense that most people, especially children recover completely. The outlook is less certain for adult patients and many of them find that throughout their lives they will get periods where they feel extremely tired.