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What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

March 9th, 2012 Healthy Living

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is exactly what it sounds like - those who suffer from it are constantly tired, no matter how much rest they get. Although fatigue is a symptom of many illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome seems to occur on its own.

According to the National Institutes of Health, we don't know what exactly causes CFS, but there are a few pervading theories. A faulty immune response could lead to inflammation in the nervous system, which can manifest itself as chronic fatigue. Age, prior illness, stress levels and genetics also play a role in CFS. It tends to occur most commonly in women between the ages of 30 and 50.

Beyond simply feeling tired, other symptoms include forgetfulness, joint pain with no associated swelling, a mild fever and a sore throat. Although diagnosis can be difficult, according to the Centers for Disease Control, your health care provider should be able to determine whether you have CFS by examining whether your fatigue is a result of something else.

Unfortunately, there's no direct cure for CFS, and symptoms tend to vary as time progresses. For this reason, it can be difficult to treat. However, those who suffer from CFS have a few means of coping with it. Professional counseling and behavior therapy can help. Because CFS is frequently accompanied by complex emotions like anger, guilt and a sense of abandonment, antidepressants are also prescribed on occasion. If you're concerned that you may be developing the syndrome, head to your doctor and explain your symptoms. You two can work together to figure out if the fatigue is sign of a larger problem and get you started on the path to recovery.