May 12th is observed as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Disease as a tribute to Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and an English social reformer, who was born on May 12th. She suffered from one such immunological and neurological disease called as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Long-standing fatigue or Chronic Fatigue in India is majorly ignored and often misdiagnosed. This article will shed some light on this condition and ways to overcome the symptoms associated with it.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder characterized by excessive tiredness or fatigue all the time. This condition does not improve with rest and remains unexplained by any underlying medical condition.
Chronic fatigue syndrome can also be called as systemic exertion intolerance disease” and myalgic encephalomyelitis. The cause of this condition is yet not clear but have been seen to get triggered by viral infections, stress, weak immune system or sometimes due to the combination of factors. It gets difficult to diagnose the condition because of the imitating symptoms of other illnesses and unclear cause. It is through common in women in age group 40 – 50 years.
What are the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome is described mainly as feeling tired all the time or most of the time which does not improve even after rest. This excessive tiredness makes it hard for you to do normal activities as well. Apart from feeling tired, other common symptoms experienced are:
– Difficulty in sleeping or disturbed sleep
– Difficulty in concentrating or thinking clearly
– Generalized muscular pain.
– Heaviness of head and frequent headaches
– Dizziness on standing up
– Irritability or mood swings
– Bowel disturbances
– Numbness or tingling, burning sensation on face, hands and feet
– Joint pains
– Tenderness and swelling around lymph nodes situated in your neck and armpit
– Frequent episodes of sore throat
When should I consult a doctor?
If you suddenly feel tired all the time, then you should consult a doctor to get yourself examined for the problem.
How do you diagnose Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
There is no specific diagnostic test to confirm this condition. A doctor evaluates the symptoms for any other underlying condition, if they find no other cause for the symptoms then they consider it as chronic fatigue syndrome.
How to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
There is no specific cure for chronic fatigue syndrome and it progresses differently for different people. So, the suitable approach is to address the symptoms and treat them. Here are few tips to manage your symptoms:
1. Limit your addiction: Limit your intake of caffeine, nicotine and alcohol. This would help you to sleep better and cope up with insomnia.
2. Say no to stress: Avoid any kind of physical and emotional stress. Keep yourself occupied by joining some hobby classes or laughter group.
3. Behavioral therapy: Getting some help with a psychologist or a counselor definitely helps you see things from a different perspective and hence how you react to the situation. This will enable you to react sensibly and cope up with your condition.
4. Graded exercises: It’s true that any physical exertion does worsen the condition but if you do graded exercise it would actually help improve your symptoms. Graded exercise is a pattern of exercises in which one starts with gentle exercises initially, then gradually increasing the amount and intensity of exercises.
6. Alternative therapy: Other forms of medicine such as yoga, meditation, massage and acupuncture have also been said to provide some relief.
Can medications help?
Generally, no medications can help manage all your symptoms. Sometimes, painkillers may help you deal with joint and muscle pains.
Managing chronic fatigue syndrome is quite challenging but managing your symptoms with above-described methods can help you stay active and adapt to your chronic fatigue.