Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that affects over 500,000 Americans. CFS is defined as prolonged, overwhelming fatigue that begins upon awakening, lasts throughout the day, and may worsen with physical activity.
Chronic fatigue syndrome primarily affects 25-45 year old women but may affect anyone. It has been associated with a number of factors including infectious agents, physical and mental stress, nutritional deficiencies, oxidative stress, immune challenges, allergies, dental amalgams, hormonal abnormalities, and low blood pressure.
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Due to its vague symptoms, diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome is difficult due to its simultaneous occurrence with other diseases such as influenza or other infections. Conditions that may mimic CFS include depression, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, environmental illness, food allergies, eating disorders, sleep apnea, autoimmune disease, mononucleosis, and cancer.
Medically speaking, a CFS diagnosis can be made only when the patient has suffered from persistent, unexplained fatigue for at least six months. In addition to fatigue, four of the following symptoms must be present: cognitive impairment (in concentration or short-term memory), tender lymph nodes, unrefreshing sleep, post-exertion malaise, stiff muscles, joint pain, sore throat, headaches, or exercise-induced illness.
A number of other symptoms have been reported by CFS patients including weight loss, bloating, irregular heartbeat, jaw pain, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, abdominal pain, alcohol intolerance, chest pain, chronic cough, dry eyes or mouth, earache, night sweats, shortness of breath, and tingling sensations.
CFS tends to arise suddenly after a flu-like illness or some other stressor, leaving behind unbearable exhaustion. This is frequently mistaken for a recurrence of the infection, and the patient returns to the doctor for more tests. Repeated tests then reveal no abnormalities, yet symptoms worsen. Sleep disturbances and depression then lead many patients feeling as if friends, family, and physicians flippantly dismiss their concerns in favor of a psychiatric diagnosis. Many have heard this phrase: “It’s all in your head.” If this sounds familiar to you, Divine Design Natural Health can help.
There is no single laboratory test to confirm CFS. A variety of blood tests and other analyses are sometimes needed to rule out other conditions, but CFS is still routinely misdiagnosed. There is no standard medical treatment for the condition.
There are currently no prescription medications approved by the FDA for use in treating CFS. However, an impressive list of medications does exist to treat the various symptoms of CFS: decongestants, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants, antihistamines, antidepressants, expectorants, and mineralocorticoids. These often result in greater complications.
CFS patients are frequently deficient in a number of vital nutrients.
The best approach to CFS is to boost energy levels and support healthy immune function with nutritional supplementation and chiropractic adjustments addressing neurology along with detoxification. Further intervention may include evaluation of hormonal status via blood tests, but this is rarely necessary.
At Divine Design Natural Health, understanding the interaction between muscle physiology, nervous system modulation, and nutritional status is integral to educating patients on why CFS is intimately related to depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, digestive issues, and the myriad of health issues patients often encounter. CFS rarely occurs in isolation, and the explanation may surprise you. Ask us why if you’re interested.