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Posts Tagged ‘chronic fatigue symptoms’

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?

Thursday, December 15th, 2011



What’s the difference between fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)? Health experts often differ in diagnosing fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue symptoms, as they tend to overlap.  Judge for yourself- here are some facts on symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.


What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a condition that causes pain, tiredness, and stomach upset in its sufferers.  FM is somewhat of a medical phenomenon, as scientists are still unsure exactly what causes fibromyalgia.  Theories abound, and researchers continue to conduct studies on possible causes of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia symptoms:

The most prevalent symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain: About 70% – 80% of fibromyalgia patients suffer severe muscular soreness.  Pain occurs mostly along the spine, the shoulders, hips, and neck, but can also happen in other parts of the body.  FM sufferers may also experience joint stiffness similar to arthritis pain.

  • Other common symptoms of fibromyalgia are gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea), severe fatigue, sleep difficulties, and “brain fog” (concentration problems).
  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, approximately five million US citizens suffer from fibromyalgia.
  • In order to diagnose fibromyalgia, a doctor must confirm eleven out of eighteen fibromyalgia “tender points” in his patient.
  • More women than men suffer from fibromyalgia.


Fibromyalgia FAQs- 6 Need-to-Know Fibro Facts

Why am I always tired?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) goes by a few other names: immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS) and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).  CFS is another “invisible disease” that affects the body and the mind.  Like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome is also an illness for which scientists are still attempting to determine the cause.  The leading theory is that CFS is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system.

Boost Energy Now! 20 Practical Tips for Fighting Fatigue

What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

While fibromyalgia symptoms center on pain, CFS symptoms are primarily related to extreme unending tiredness.  Symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

  • CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME AND FIBROMYALGIA- IS THERE A DIFFERENCE? WWW.B12PATCH.COMbeing tired all the time, despite getting plenty of sleep, eating well, and generally taking good care of yourself,
  • complete exhaustion after low-impact exercise, examinations, or long periods requiring mental focus, followed by a recuperation period,
  • poor short-term memory,
  • brain fog,
  • waking up fatigued, and never feeling fully rested,
  • flu-like aches and pain,
  • headache,
  • sore throat,
  • poor reading comprehension,
  • difficulty grasping appropriate words while communicating,
  • anxiety

What’s the difference between CFS and FM?

The fact that symptoms of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia so often overlap makes it difficult for doctors to diagnose, and confusing for patients to understand.  Here are some basic similarities and distinguishing facts of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Not all people who have chronic fatigue syndrome also suffer from chronic pain symptoms such as those with fibromyalgia.  However, most fibromyalgia patients live with extreme, persistent fatigue every day- approximately 50% – 70%, according to the Arthritis Foundation.
  • About one million people have chronic fatigue syndrome, compared with five million fibromyalgia sufferers.
  • While some physicians believe that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are two separate conditions that often overlap in one patient, others believe that chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome, and not a disorder in its own right.
  • Stress and physical exertion are both common triggers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Chronic Depression, Chronic Pain- It’s All the Same, say Experts

Vitamin B12 deficiency in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

Other illnesses share similar symptoms with FM and CFS, causing yet more confusion in diagnosis and treatment.  Additionally, other conditions like pernicious anemia may occur at the same time as CFS, and may go undetected as a result.

  • A high correlation exists between vitamin B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia.  Any condition that causes gastrointestinal problems will likely also result in poor digestion of vitamin B12.  Untreated, B12 deficiency can escalate into severe nerve damage.
  • Symptoms of B12 deficiency may include nerve pain (tingling, pins and needles) in the hands and feet, numbness in the hands and feet, decreased energy, loss of mental focus, fatigue, depression, anxiety, sore tongue, altered sense of taste, short-term memory loss, clumsiness, and difficulty walking, running or jumping without stumbling.
  • Other disorders and illnesses linked with vitamin B12 deficiency are inflammatory bowel disease (IBD- Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), lupus, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, celiac disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
  • Because vitamin B12 deficiency shares so many symptoms with chronic fatigue syndrome, it might go untreated.  For that reason, it is advisable for people suffering from CFS or FM to get their vitamin B12 blood levels checked routinely.

Read more about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome:

Back Pain Exercises and Fibromyalgia- the Do’s and Don’ts

40 Things NOT to say to a Fibromyalgia-Chronic Fatigue Sufferer

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It


The Fibro Fact Page: Basic Brief Information about Fibromyalgia

The Common Threads of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – Fibromyalgia Center- Everyday Health

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

The CFIDS Association of America

Image credits:

Stuart Miles

Boost Energy Now! 20 Practical Tips for Fighting Fatigue

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011



If you frequently feel fatigued, zapped of energy, then you might benefit from a new exercise program, a new hobby, or a vitamin regimen!  Sometimes, chronic fatigue symptoms are related to diet.


Vitamin B12 deficiency makes you feel sluggish, confused and depressed. Often, you feel like you are in a fog, or fibro fog, as it’s called when you also have fibromyalgia, an illness that sometimes correlates with vitamin B12 deficiency.

Don’t let fatigue get in the way of work, school or your social life. More importantly, don’t fall into the habit of jolting yourself awake with caffeine, energy drinks or sugary snacks. You might get a quick high, a temporary one at that, but the resulting drop in energy will leave you more tired than you were before.

Below is a list of suggestions which have been compiled from Leo Babauta’s popular blog Zen Habits, along with a few other tidbits from other health-related sites:

1 Sing, sing a song… Don’t be shy about belting it out, whether in the car, in the break room or while washing the dishes!

2 Have a power smoothie. Fix yourself a protein-rich smoothie, complete with yogurt, frozen fruit, flax seeds and soy ice cream. 10 Most Tempting Vegan Ice Cream Recipes

3 Let the sun shine in. Our bodies are attuned to sunlight, as well as the absence of it. Dark lighting tells our brain that it’s time to rest and leaves us feeling sluggish. Indoor lighting, sunshine and even bright colors wake up our senses and keep us energized.

4 Walk around the block…and take your dog with you. If you don’t have time to run to the gym, then just run around the block! If you have a canine friend, grab the leash and bring him along. Caring for pets increases energy and reduces stress. Assuming you’re not allergic, of course.

5 Have a quick snooze, only avoid the bed. Rest sitting upright in a comfortable position, and you’re less likely to oversleep and wake up groggy and headache-y.

6 Chin up! Look on the bright side, and try not to focus on all the things in your life you wish were different. Even if you’re trying to lose weight, find a better job, or waiting for a test result, give yourself permission to be happy now.

7 Don’t oversleep. Set your alarm clock so that you wake up at the same time every day, regardless of  whether you’re going to work or taking the day off. (Resist the urge to press the snooze button!) Irregular sleep patterns leave you feeling drowsy all day long.
8 Eat smaller meals. Heavy meals leave us feeling lethargic and full (flashback to last Thanksgiving). Instead, determine how many calories you plan on consuming in one day, and divide that number into 6 light vitamin-rich mini-meals.
9 Take a break from the rat race. Been sitting at your desk for hours? Get up, stretch your legs, and go to the water cooler for a few minutes. Another bright idea: instead of taking a one-week vacation, ask your boss about taking two or three long weekends throughout the year?

10 Drink your water.
Speaking of the water cooler, bring a sports bottle with you, and fill it up when nobody’s looking. Allowing yourself to become dehydrated is one of the biggest sources of fatigue.

11 Lose weight. As if you needed another reason to worry about your weight: extra poundage is a burden on our health, energy levels and mental outlook. Next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up a 5-lb. or 10-lb. bag of flour, and imagine yourself losing…or gaining an equivalent amount of body fat. Let’s Move: Michelle Obama Moving On Up the Wal-Mart Aisles

12 Have a fruit salad…and remember the berries! Apples and berries are great sources of natural sugar that won’t weigh you down or leave you feeling exhausted later. Blue, purple and red berries also contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants known to increase energy.

13 Take your B vitamins. B complex vitamins, and particularly vitamin B12, are known to increase energy, mental clarity and boost the immune system. Foods which contain plenty of vitamin B12 are protein foods, such as meat, dairy, eggs and fish. Vegans or vegetarians are recommended to take B12 supplements in order to avoid getting B12 deficiency. 6 Must-Eat Foods for Die-Hard Vegans

14 Nix energy drinks. Energy drinks are no better for you than any other caffeinated beverages, though their manufacturers would have you believe otherwise. Avoid using energy drinks before a workout, and opt instead for a protein smoothie or a cool drink of water.

15 Jump in the shower. Nothing refreshes your senses more than a brisk power shower. Stuck at work? Go to the restroom and slap some cold water on your face for a quick pick-me-up.
16 Trade coffee for black tea. Researchers have proven what the ancient Chinese have known for centuries: that drinking small cups of black coffee throughout the day relieves stress and rejuvenates your body and mind.
17 Keep it wholly. Cut out white flour, white sugar and white rice, along with all other processed foods; they only sit in your gut for hours and spread infection, allergic reactions and fatigue. Opt instead for whole oats, brown rice, lentils and natural sweeteners like stevia and agave nectar. Can a Gluten-Free Diet Ease Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?
18 Have a breath mint. Peppermint is used by aromatherapists to awaken the mind and boost energy.  Don’t have access to a health food store that sells essential oils? Stop by a drug store and pick up a peck of peppermint gum.

19 Unload. Feeling depressed? It might help to call up a friend that you haven’t heard from in a while, send an email to a close relative or chat with a colleague. If it’s something too personal to share with close friends, then schedule an appointment with a social worker.

20 Laugh it up! It’s hard to feel tired, depressed or down-in-the-dumps when there’s a smile on your face. Think of something funny you read recently, or check out today’s comics. Even a quick you-tube search for “comedy” is likely to result in something that will lift up your spirits.


Here are some more good tips on avoiding chronic fatigue, B12 deficiency and fibromyalgia:

7 Reasons You Have Brain Fog…And What to do About It

100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Information

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue? B12 to the Rescue!

Happy Ten Billionth, iTunes: Apple’s 10 Best Health and Medical Apps





Teens are No Stranger to Chronic Fatigue

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

More teens today suffer chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) than ever before, according to Dutch survey of 900 teens who were diagnosed with chronic fatigue symptoms.


Does your teen often complain that she’s too tired to finish her homework, clean her room or clear off the dinner table? She might not be faking it.

A survey conducted by Dutch doctors concluded that 1 out of 900 teenagers suffer from chronic fatigue symptoms, which include fatigue to the point of exhaustion, memory loss, difficulty concentrating, joint soreness, insomnia and muscular pain.

The report, which was published in the Pediatrics journal, states that 90 percent of the teenagers surveyed who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome confessed to missing large time slots of school time; some admitted that they stopped going to school altogether when fatigue symptoms were high.

Also read: Teen Mental Illness: Unnoticed, Undiagnosed in America

Compared to adults, teens are less likely to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

  • 354 general practitioners in the Netherlands participated in this national survey on chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Dutch doctors estimated that roughly .012 percent of teens are diagnosed with CFS every year, while for adults the rate is 1 percent.
  • The actual percentage of chronic fatigue sufferers is probably much higher. In previous scientific studies on chronic fatigue syndrome, 80 percent of adults who participated suffered from CFS, but were never diagnosed.

Also read: Sluggish? Confused? Maybe it’s the Cheeseburger.

  • The average age for teen chronic fatigue is 15 years.
  • Half of the teenage survey participants suffered chronic fatigue syndrome for approximately 1 1/2 years before receiving diagnosis or treatment.
  • Girls are 5 times more likely to suffer chronic fatigue than boys.
  • Because of the rarity of chronic fatigue syndrome in the teenage years, sufferers are often misdiagnosed.
  • According to Livestrong, chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by depression, anemia, hypothyroidism, sleep deprivation and mononucleosis (“mono”).

Says Dr. S.L. Nijhof, co-author of the Dutch survey, “Fatigue is a common complaint among adolescents, with a good prognosis. Chronic fatigue syndrome is much less common, but with serious consequences.”

Chronic fatigue is one of many symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. If you or your teen is suffering any of the symptoms described for chronic fatigue, see a doctor immediately and request blood screenings for low B12.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Health Video — powered by http://www.livestrong.com

Also read:

Getting Enough Vitamin B12? Three Reasons Why You Might Not Be


Reuters, LivestrongUS News, Mayo ClinicHealthland, MedicineNet, iVillage,


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