Chronic fatigue syndrome (abbreviated to CFS) is a pathological psycho-emotional and physiological condition that develops on the background of exhaustion. With this disease, a person feels physically or mentally overworked even after a good rest. Such a feeling of constant fatigue is much more dangerous than patients think, so it cannot be ignored.
Most of all CFS are subject to residents of large cities. If we talk about the age framework, the syndrome is more common in young people - from 25 to 45 years. Persons holding positions of responsibility and having serious duties should especially carefully monitor their condition.
They are also at risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome.
Pathology got its name in 1984, when a real epidemic of CFS occurred in the state of Nevada. Cases of "collective" incidence of this syndrome in the town of Incline Village were recorded by Dr. Paul Cheney. About 200 patients complained of constant weakness, decreased muscle tone, poor mood and bouts of depression. As a result, the presence of the herpes virus type 4 (Epstein-Barr) or its related representatives of herpes viruses, or antibodies to them was determined in their blood. However, the exact causes of pathology at that time could not be found out.
After this, cases of CFS were noted in:
- Los Angeles (1934);
- Iceland (1948);
- London (1955);
- Florida (1956).
Chronic fatigue syndrome can develop in any person - regardless of their place of residence and social status.
In 2009, American scientists published an article that described the effect on the body of experimental mice of the virus that provokes CFS. However, the work of the researchers was subjected to harsh criticism, and their arguments were refuted, because this virus was not identified in the blood of people who took part in another experiment.
But quite recently, a group of scientists proved that a virus in the blood of patients was, nevertheless, discovered. According to them, it appears when a person’s immunity is in constant tension.
In 2016, British scientists published a paper in which they stated with absolute certainty that the CFS virus exists. In addition, most of them are adolescent children.
At the heart of the development of CFS is a violation of the interaction between the autonomic and central nervous system. The first is responsible for the production of substances that are necessary for the development of inhibition in the central nervous system. When immunity is in constant tension, infection with the chronic fatigue syndrome virus is only a matter of time.
Often the cause of CX is an infectious disease, the causative agent of which is a virus, "settling" in the human body for a long time. In this case, get rid of it with the help of medications is not possible.
The development of CFS can occur under the influence of infection:
- herpes virus type 4 (Epstein-Barr);
- enteroviruses (including Coxsackie viruses);
- herpes virus type 6;
- hepatitis C virus;
The development of the disease occurs when the centers responsible for intellectual and emotional activity are overloaded. The same parts of the brain that "turn on" during physical activity remain untapped.
So, most of all CFS are subject to:
- residents of large cities, cities;
- persons living in unsatisfactory environmental and hygienic conditions;
- people working in positions with increased responsibility: drivers, medical workers, pilots, etc .;
- patients with chronic pathologies of the thyroid gland, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases;
- people who are often exposed to viral diseases;
- teenagers and applicants;
- persons who abuse harmful foods, as well as those in whose diet there is a clear shortage of micro and macro elements;
- people exposed to frequent stress, psycho-emotional upheaval, depression;
- allergy sufferers;
- suspicious, conflicting personalities;
- persons who are often in contact with heavy metal salts;
- drug addicts.
It is also reliably known that the representatives of the weaker sex are most susceptible to this disease, as well as people who experience constant fears, stresses, dissatisfaction with life and themselves. Lack of sleep, hypodynamia, rare walks in the fresh air, uncontrolled intake of antihistamines, hormonal, hypotensive, hypnotic medications - all of these factors can also cause the development of chronic fatigue syndrome.
First signs and symptoms
The clinical picture of chronic fatigue syndrome is quite diverse and changeable, therefore, it is impossible to identify any symptoms that would indicate this particular disease. However, doctors draw the attention of patients to certain signs by which CFS can be recognized.
Most patients, during a conversation with a doctor, complains about the presence of:
- fatigue even after a good night’s rest;
- frequent headache attacks for no apparent reason;
- drowsiness, loss of strength and general malaise during the daytime;
- problems falling asleep even after intense physical activity;
- unreasonable outbursts of anger and bouts of irritability;
- frequent mood changes that the patient himself cannot explain;
- allergic reactions;
- cognitive impairment;
- frequent occurrences of infectious diseases;
- inflammation of the lymph nodes - cervical and axillary;
- frequent pharyngitis;
- muscle pain of unknown etiology.
CFS is different from ordinary overwork in that in the second case, the feeling of fatigue passes after a good rest. With the disease, even a full night's sleep or prolonged brain discharge does not bring relief. A person feels "broken" even if he has not experienced any physical or mental overstrain.
In most cases, the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome do not appear separately, but in a complex. In this case, the patient should carefully listen to his body, and note any negative changes. The sooner the disease is detected, the more effective the diagnosis and therapy will be.
Constant feeling of fatigue, apathy, sharp changes of mood, feeling of weakness in the whole body, even after a long rest, are the symptoms that should alert the first. They may well indicate the presence of CFS.
You should also be alarmed when, against the background of the general health and normal functioning of the immune system, a person often develops colds or infectious diseases. In this case, chronic fatigue syndrome appears as clearly as possible. The body throws all its strength to fight the underlying disease, which becomes good ground for the progression of CFS.
Under such circumstances, it is impossible to delay a visit to the doctor. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a very dangerous disease that can have extremely serious consequences (see below).
Which doctor to contact?
It is impossible to give an unequivocal answer to the question of which physician should be referred to in case of suspected CFS. The patient can decide himself which specialist to tell about his illness. We will give a list of doctors with whom you can talk about the existing disease.
- Therapist. If symptoms of CFS are manifested by frequent outbreaks of infectious or catarrhal diseases, then the therapist will help to understand their causes. He will conduct a primary examination, prescribe treatment of current diseases, and refer the patient to a specialist for further diagnosis.
- Psychologist. Stress, emotional turmoil or nervous strain - these are the reasons for the development of CFS are the responsibility of the psychologist. He will prescribe symptomatic therapy, and will give advice on how to avoid new bouts of the disease.
- Consultation of a neurologist is an integral part of the diagnosis of CFS. Since the symptoms of the disease are closely associated with disorders of the nervous system, it is the neurologist who can precisely determine the source of the ailment, and prescribe adequate treatment.
- Immunologist. Frequent colds and infectious pathologies indicate depression of the immune system. Under such circumstances, the help of an immunologist is necessary. He will prescribe drugs that will help launch the body's natural defense mechanism, and this, in turn, will contribute to a more effective fight against manifested pathologies.
- Sometimes the CFS can manifest itself on the background of endocrine disruption, in which case the patient will need the help of an endocrinologist.
Identifying the CFS is not an easy task, because the disease is well-disguised under various pathologies. An important criterion in this case is the presence of constant malaise and feelings of fatigue for six months or more. The disease is often accompanied by depressive conditions. If you have at least 4 of the above symptoms, and they do not go away for 6 months, this should be a reason for going to the doctor.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment
Treatment of the disease should be comprehensive and comprehensive. In addition to making adjustments in lifestyle and diet, as well as passing a course of physiotherapy, it is important for the patient to observe the doctor's prescriptions in terms of pharmacotherapy.
Self-medication for the symptomatic treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome should be avoided. Pharmacological agents are selected and prescribed exclusively by a doctor, and the age of the patient and the intensity of the clinical picture are necessarily taken into account. In addition, the presence of other diseases or somatic disorders in the patient is taken into account.
Therefore, a competent and integrated approach to therapy in chronic fatigue syndrome plays an extremely important role. The following components may be included in the treatment regimen:
- Auxiliary drugs. When CFS is often prescribed nootropic drugs, antihistamines, daytime tranquilizers, enterosorbents. Appointments are made only after a thorough examination of the patient, and studying the symptoms of concern to him.
- Fasting days (mini-diets), contributing to the establishment of all processes in the body. Medical practice shows that such changes help to restore vitality and eliminate symptoms of CFS.
- Metabolic treatment. This therapeutic technique is aimed at restoring the vitamin balance in the body, as well as its supply with the necessary micro and macro elements. The use of natural metabolites helps to improve the composition of nutrients needed to eliminate the effects of tissue hypoxia.
- Immunotherapy. This treatment method involves the use of immunomodulators and adaptogens. These drugs activate the work of immunity, contribute to the rise of the body's defenses.
- The course of physiotherapy and exercise therapy. First of all, it is necessary to include reflexotherapy, massage, physical therapy, breathing exercises, physical procedures and swimming in this list. All these therapeutic techniques help to strengthen the immune system, normalize blood circulation and oxygen metabolism in the body, and simply have a positive effect on all organs and systems.
- Psychological help. Such treatment helps to restore the full psycho-emotional state of a patient with CFS. This technique includes many different procedures - autogenic training, sessions with a psychologist, relaxation activities, etc.
Quite often, doctors note the complete disappearance of symptoms of CFS after the patient changes his environment. It is not about short-term rest or periodic, short-term changes in living conditions. Only cardinal adjustments can help in getting rid of chronic fatigue syndrome.
In order for the disease to no longer make itself felt, it is necessary to properly organize the regime of work and rest. And this concerns not only physical, but also mental activity.
Treatment of CFS with medications only is inappropriate, even if they have good efficacy. In parallel, the patient is prescribed a course of physiotherapy. The doctor may advise you to undergo a comprehensive treatment, or else give the direction to the patient for a specific procedure.
Quite good results can be obtained from conducting:
- Relaxing massage. Manipulation is performed only when the patient is in a state of complete rest. It helps eliminate muscle pain, fatigue, tension.
- Laser treatment. Innovation in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. With the help of this procedure, the metabolism is improved, regeneration processes are restored and stimulated, the functioning of the central nervous system improves.
- Acupuncture. This is an alternative method of therapy, which, however, is often used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. The essence of the technique lies in the impact on certain active points of the body, which helps to intensify the intensive functioning of all organs and systems. Eliminates pain, helps fight insomnia, and helps recuperate.
- Hydrotherapy. Under the influence of water on the patient's body, tension is relieved, the nervous system is relaxed, sleep is getting better.
- Exercise therapy. Physical therapy has a fortifying effect on the body, stimulates the immune system, eliminates nervousness, irritability and, paradoxically, it does not sound fatigue. After several sessions, the patient feels a surge of strength and vitality. In addition, with the help of regular exercise, psycho-emotional state is stabilized, muscle pain, apathy and general weakness are stabilized.
- Magnetotherapy. It helps well in CFS that develops on the background of endocrine disorders. This procedure promotes anesthesia and maximum relaxation.
The duration of physiotherapy is determined depending on the duration of the course of drug treatment. If pharmacotherapy has not been prescribed, a visit to the physiotherapy room should be carried out by the patient strictly according to the plan drawn up by the doctor.
Folk remedies can cope with the elimination of symptoms and the prevention of further development of chronic fatigue syndrome. Many recipes go well with prescribed drugs, but the patient must discuss this combination with his doctor.
There are also such means of alternative medicine that can be used as independent methods of therapy. The most effective and useful recipes are listed below.
- Mix 100 g of fresh honey with 45 ml of apple cider vinegar, beat until smooth. Drink 5 ml daily.
- Dilute in 200-250 ml of water with 5 ml of honey and apple cider vinegar. Add a drop of iodine and stir. Ready medicine to drink during the day. The course of therapy depends on the positive dynamics of the therapy.
- Dandelion - flowers with leaves - and a few stalks of nettle (100 g of each ingredient), crushed and mixed with air and wormwood (1 tbsp. L.). A mixture of herbs pour 0.5 liters of alcohol and insist for 2 weeks. Take 5 ml per day, after diluting in - ½ cup of water.
- 1 tbsp. l Hypericum pour a glass of boiling water and leave for an hour. Drink a third of a glass before each meal.
- Grate a small piece of fresh ginger root on a fine grater and pour a cup of boiling water over it. When the tea has cooled a little, you need to add honey and a slice of lemon.
Pharmaceutical and physiotherapy, of course, help to combat the manifestations of chronic fatigue syndrome, but making corrections also plays an important role. To develop the right diet that will suit a particular person, you need to contact a nutritionist.
This is very important because chronic fatigue syndrome, in addition to the main symptoms, can develop in two more scenarios:
- The patient completely loses interest in food, feels disgust for it. In this case, he can go hungry literally all day long.
- The patient begins to excessively consume food in large quantities. As a result, they quickly develop obesity, especially against the background of hypodynamia, characteristic of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Preventing the development of the disease is much easier than treating it or struggling with its consequences. And chronic fatigue syndrome is no exception. In order to avoid its occurrence it is necessary:
- Properly plan your day. Rationally distributed time, alternation of work and rest (both physical and mental), making daily walks in the fresh air, good sleep are the most important guarantees of preventing the development of chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Give up bad habits. The elimination of alcohol and tobacco are the basis for preventing the development of many diseases, and not just chronic fatigue syndrome.
- Efficient and balanced diet. Particular attention should be paid not only food, but also consumed drinks. Excessive enthusiasm for coffee, the so-called "energy", strong black tea often leads to disruption of many organs and systems.
- To live an active lifestyle. Moderate exercise helps to establish blood circulation throughout the body, and also provides all of its cells with plenty of oxygen.
- Change the situation. If the outbreaks of the CFS are associated with the routine that surrounds you, it means that the time has come to make adjustments in this area. Rest on the sea or resort, going to nature, to the forest help to significantly reduce the load on the nervous system.
- Give preference to proper nutrition. Excluding fast foods, reducing the amount of consumed high-calorie foods, fatty and spicy dishes - one of the main requirements. Instead, preference should be given to fruits, vegetables, soups and cereals from different cereals.
CFS is not considered a life-threatening disease for the patient, and it can even go away without treatment. However, with regular stresses, it can re-appear, and have a negative effect on immunity.
In persons older than 40 years, the disease may differ in a protracted course, especially if the CFS arose against the background of constant, deep depressions. If the first symptoms are detected within 2 years from the start of the pathology, the patient can hope for a full recovery.