Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is one of those obscure medical problems upon which researchers and physicians seem unable to agree. Some say it is caused by a virus, others say it is allergy-related or a symptom of depression, and others, not knowing what to think or say, suggest it is all in the head. One thing is for sure; it severely debilitates its victims.
Sometimes, as medical knowledge progresses, the understanding of a series of symptoms changes. Infectious mononucleosis, termed the “kissing disease,” was the first illness recognized as causing chronic fatigue. The symptoms were flu-like: low-grade fever, muscular aches and pains, headache and fatigue. The most discouraging part of the illness was that even if the person felt better for a while, the symptoms returned. It was not unusual to have recurring episodes of the illness for two to three years.
In the mid 1980s as the AIDS epidemic spurred extensive research into viruses, more became known about the mononucleosis syndrome. Mononucleosis became Chronic Epstein-Barr virus. A march 1988 report by a Center for Disease Control (CDC) working group renamed it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The CDC group also outlined strict criteria for its diagnosis. To meet their definition, a patient must have debilitating fatigue for more than six months and must exhibit at least eight of eleven symptoms, including sore throat, mild fever and muscle aches.
Why some experience chronic fatigue and others do not, seems to be related to their immune systems. It has been common experience that chronic fatigue syndrome occurs during time when the immune system is debilitated by other illnesses, whether diagnosed or not.
The reason nobody can fully explain how people get chronic fatigue syndrome is because so many things cause chronic fatigue. Many, many situations, deficiencies and illnesses wear down and impair the immune system.
The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are the signals of a poorly functioning immune system. That is why, of none of the suggestions I make here work, your best bet is to consult a nutritionally-oriented physician or alternative medicine physician for the proper tests to detect, to determine what exactly is causing your immune system to break down, and get on a personal program to fill in your nutritional blanks.
A repot in the New England Journal of Medicine quotes Dr. Stephen Straus of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases says that chronic fatigue may represent an abnormal response to infection. Scientists thin some patients never completely recover from the flu, but instead develop long-standing symptoms of chronic fatigue.
A study of 15 teenagers ages 13 to 17 diagnosed of having CFS found 11 reported their symptoms as following an acute illness, according to doctors from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Severn had positive tests for mononucleosis. A third of the teenagers, all of whom were female, also were fond to be clinically depressed.