People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) disorder are so run down that it interferes with their lives and can make it hard to function at all. Some people with CFS say they have trouble staying on top of their responsibilities at home and on the job, while others are severely disabled and even bedridden. Furthermore, they're not just dealing with extreme fatigue, but with a wide range of other symptoms, including flu-like symptoms and chronic pain.
What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
CFS affects more than one million people in the United States. There are tens of millions of people with similar fatigue-related illnesses, who do not fully meet the strict research definition of chronic fatigue syndrome, and so it excludes many people who actually suffer from this disorder.
CFS is a malfunction of the pituitary, a pea-sized gland at the base of the skull, which regulates all our hormones. The research definition of CFS is as follows: Clinically evaluated, unexplained, persistent, or relapsing chronic fatigue that is of new or definite onset (has not been lifelong); is not the result of ongoing exertion; is not substantially alleviated by rest; and results in substantial reduction in previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities.
In order to diagnose this disorder, four or more of the following symptoms should occur, all of which must have persisted or recurred during six or more consecutive months of illness and must not have predated the fatigue:
- Self-reported impairment in short term memory
- Sore throat
- Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
- Muscle pain
- Multi-joint pain without joint swelling or redness
- Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
- Non-refreshing sleep
- Post-exertional malaise lasting more that twenty-four hours
When faced with patients suffering from CFS most doctors are at loss. In a poorly-informed attempt to relieve symptoms, they might prescribe antidepressants, muscle relaxants, pain pills or sleep medications. None of these will resolve the condition and side effects may make you feel worse. Lack of standardized testing for CFS and unidirectional approaches are often the factors that contribute to failure in treating this illness.
What Are The Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Symptoms can be very similar to the ones experienced by fibromyalgia sufferers and up to 70% of patients actually suffer from both conditions. Symptoms include fatigue that doesn't go away with sleep, difficulty getting restful sleep, pain, stiffness and tender spots in muscles and/or joints. Also one may suffer from headaches, sore throat, flu-like feeling, weight gain, digestive problems, mental fog and poor concentration.
Unfortunately, many individuals and physicians continue to deny that this syndrome is a legitimate disease. The medical literature is, however, very clear in proving the opposite; individuals with this disorder have measurable hypothalamic, pituitary, immune and coagulation dysfunction. These abnormalities then result in a cascade of further abnormalities, in which stress plays a role by suppressing immunity and hypothalamic-pituitary function. This results in multiple hormonal deficiencies and opportunistic infections like yeast overgrowth, which contribute to the worsening of symptoms.
Watch this short video below with Dr. Kent Holtorf explaining the symptoms, diagnose and treatment of CFS: