Tired all the time? Do you feel tired even after getting a good night’s sleep? Well, this could be chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Fatigue caused due to CFS can decrease your daily activity levels by 40%.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It is a complicated disorder that causes extreme and long-term fatigue, persisting for at least 6 months or more. It does not go away even after getting prolonged rest and sleep. This does not occur due to any underlying medical condition and is hence, often considered to be imaginary.
Your doctor needs to rule out other conditions or causes before he/she can diagnose CFS, and a full body check up helps in that.
Chronic Fatigue ≠ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Long-term fatigue can be normal and may occur because you are overworked or not getting enough rest. The exact cause of CFS remains unidentified, but it may occur due to hormonal imbalance, chronic stress, weak immune system or a combination of several such factors.
Anemia or nutritional deficiencies such as iron or vitamin B deficiency could also be a reason for continuously feeling tired.
Why Does It Happen?
While in some people CFS may develop gradually, most people get it suddenly, often after flu, other viral infection or any kind of trauma. Click here to read about 6 health problems that can lead to excessive tiredness.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms may come and go. Severity may also change over time, sometimes they might get better, and other times they may get worse. Look for the following:
-Inability to concentrate or short-term memory that may affect routine tasks
-Pain in several joints but no redness or swelling
-Swollen glands or lymph nodes in neck or underarms
-Feeling sick after exercise or strenuous activity, mostly starting after a day of activity
-Not feeling fresh after waking up
-Headaches that are different or severe from the ones you usually have
How To Identify Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Most people who are experiencing long-term or chronic fatigue do not have CFS. But, being cautious is important since there is no specific blood test to diagnose this syndrome. Some basic tests to rule out the prevalence of any other medical condition and better diagnosis, may include:
Complete blood count: This is one of the most commonly ordered tests that gives information around different kinds of cells in your blood. A deficiency of blood cells can cause anemia or increase your chances of catching infections, which may cause fatigue.
Thyroid panel: Your thyroid hormones help regulate metabolism, growth and development of the body. They also have an impact on how active you are. Fatigue is a common symptom that occurs due to low levels of thyroid hormones in the body.
Have you also been experiencing weight gain or hair loss recently? An underactive thyroid gland could be causing these changes. Get a test done to know.
Kidney function test: Any problems with your kidney’s working can cause the toxins and impurities to build-up, thereby causing tiredness.
Getting your kidneys tested to check whether they are working fine can help make the diagnosis easier. BOOK NOW
Liver tests: Fatigue is a common complaint among people with liver problems whether it is because of excessive alcohol consumption or viral illnesses.
How Is It Treated?
Your doctor will figure out which symptom is the most problematic for you, and try to treat that first. Also, you will need new ways to manage your daily activities. Make sure that you do not “push and crash.”
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Black CD, O’connor PJ, McCully KK. Increased daily physical activity and fatigue symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome. Dyn Med. 2005 Mar 3;4(1):3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC555551/