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Posts Tagged ‘symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome’

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome- What is it, exactly?

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012



Chronic fatigue syndrome is more than just simple exhaustion- it makes you feel sluggish, cranky, and confused, even if you’ve had plenty of sleep and have no reason to feel so tired.  Chronic fatigue occurs with illnesses like vitamin B12 deficiency, fibromyalgia, and celiac disease.  So, is chronic fatigue syndrome just a symptom telling you that something’s not right, or is it a separate disease of its own?


What is chronic fatigue syndrome?

To quote the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is “a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity.”

People with CFS wake up feeling tired, wiped out, as if they have just finished running in a marathon, even though they have not even gotten up from bed.  Because CFS sometimes includes pain symptoms, people think it is similar to fibromyalgia.  It’s not- Almost all people with fibromyalgia suffer from fatigue, but not all CFS sufferers experience chronic pain. (Read more about fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia- Is there a Difference?)

How is chronic fatigue syndrome diagnosed?

Determining CFS can be complicated, as there are currently no diagnostic tests available.  Before a doctor can diagnose CFS, he has to use the process of elimination to exclude all other possible illnesses.

  • The patient must have been suffering from chronic fatigue for longer than six months, despite having normal sleeping habits.
  • The patient must not be suffering with any mental illness that has fatigue as a main symptom.
  • The patient must have at least four of the qualifying symptoms for chronic fatigue syndrome.


What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

People with chronic fatigue syndrome suffer from mental and physical pain that interfere with daily life.  For some, CFS means losing the ability to care for oneself or dependents, not having the energy to do simple tasks, and facing skepticism from friends, family, and other acquaintances who think it’s all “in your head.”

The following symptoms enable a physician to give a proper diagnosis of CFS:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Frequent sore throat
  • Muscular pain
  • Unusual headaches
  • Sore lymph nodes
  • Joint pain where no inflammation is evident
  • Fatigue that is not relieved by sleep
  • Severe exhaustion following even minimal physical activity, requiring a full day’s recuperation
  • Severe mental exhaustion following exams, or other mental exercises


Other symptoms that may occur with CFS but do not influence diagnoses include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Brain fog (confusion)
  • Chills
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Visual impairments
  • Hypersensitivity to foods, scents, sounds, or light
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty maintaining balance

What causes chronic fatigue syndrome?

The exact cause of CFS is unknown, but scientists theorize the following possibilities:

  • Virus infection
  • Vitamin deficiency (such as vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)


What are the best treatments for chronic fatigue?

The primary goal in treating patients with CFS is to provide relief from the debilitating symptoms, since there is no cure for the actual disease itself.  Unfortunately, finding the right treatment is just as complicated as diagnosing it- it’s a long process that requires time, patience, and a willingness to try new strategies.

Here are some popular options for managing chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Vitamin B12 supplements
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)- psychotherapeutic counseling
  • Graded Exercise Therapy (GET)- gradual physical exercise
  • Alternative medicine- acupuncture, progressive relaxation, yoga, massage, and aquatic therapy
  • Visiting a support group for CFS
  • Antidepressants
  • Treatments for orthostatic instability, the inability to remain in an upright position

Please tell us…

If you have chronic fatigue syndrome, do you also suffer from fibromyalgia?  Have you had your vitamin B12 levels tested?  Please feel free to share your opinions on this article.


Share the love!

Do you know anybody who might benefit from knowing more about CFS?  Please pass this article on by sharing it on Facebook or emailing a link to our site.

Thank you!

Read more about chronic fatigue:

9 Conditions that Mimic Fibromyalgia and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Tired of being Tired all the Time…It’s Tiring!


CDC – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

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TRFPhotograph, rubber bullets, Shiny Things, dan taylor, donjd2

Is it Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia? Four Ways to Tell

Monday, July 25th, 2011



Most people who have fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) also suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), as the two conditions share comorbidity with each other. So, how do you to tell if you have fibro fog, chronic fatigue…or both?


About  80 to 90 percent of all chronic fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue sufferers female. Also, fibromyalgia sufferers share many of the same symptoms, such as severe chronic pain and mental exhaustion.

If that’s the case, then how does one tell the two conditions apart?

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

Symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

In order for you physician to diagnose CFS or FMS, you must exhibit some of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme mental fatigue
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Unusual headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lightheadedness

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

So we know what features CFS and FMS have in common, but what criteria do physicians use to tell them apart?

The basic difference is that fibromyalgia is that fibromyalgia involves specific pain points, while chronic fatigue has no rhyme or reason.

However, that’s only a rough description.


Factors that differentiate fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

1) Statistics

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 5 million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia syndrome, compared with 1 million who suffer from chronic fatigue.  If you suspect you have one or the other, seek a fibromyalgia diagnosis first.

A rheumatologist often determines fibromyalgia, while an infectious disease specialist is more likely to diagnose CFS.

2) The substance P factor

Fibromyalgia patients have 300% more substance P, a chemical that your brain uses to spread pain signals throughout your body.  The more substance P your body emits following an injury, the stronger your body’s reaction to pain.

If you have fibromyalgia, then you suffer three times the amount of muscular pain or joint aches than people who don’t have chronic illness.

3) It’s in the zone

There are approximately 18 distinct pain points throughout body that signal fibromyalgia syndrome.  To receive a diagnosis, fibromyalgia sufferers must exhibit soreness in at least 11 of these specified zones.  Conversely, chronic fatigue patients have no connection with the 18 pain points.

How to Tell if Chronic Pain is Fibromyalgia: 18 Pressure Points

4) Chronic fatigue is viral

Chronic fatigue syndrome patients have higher levels of an antiviral enzyme, RNase L, leading experts to believe that CFS is the result of an autoimmune disorder following exposure to a virus.

While fibromyalgia often begins following an emotional trauma or physical injury, CFS generally appears because of a viral infection, like mono or the flu.  Chronic fatigue sufferers often complain of residual flu-like symptoms and sore throat, in addition to exhaustion following physical exercise.  CFS patients feel tired all day, even after sleeping a full eight hours.

Related reading:

100 Best Sites for Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Information

Staying Fit with Fibromyalgia: 13 Pain-Free Workouts

Why More Fibromyalgia Patients are Taking Tai Chi

15 Handy Household Tools for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Best Clothes for Fibromyalgia Pain- 6 Helpful Dressing Tips


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

Difference Between Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome | Difference Between |  Fibromyalgia vs Chronic fatigue syndrome

What is the difference between fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue?

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