Do You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Photo by MyBestTreat

Photo by MyBestTreat

Chronic fatigue syndrome. Who doesn’t think they have this? Ask any parent how tired they are at any given moment. Between homework, dinner, and getting kids to all of their activities, any person can be exhausted. So what makes CFS so different? A person with CFS feels completely worn-out and overtired. The often feel flu-like symptoms along with the exhaustion.

With CFS, extreme fatigue and exhaustion make it hard to do the daily tasks that most people take for granted — like showering, getting out of bed, or even eating. No matter how much rest you get at night or during the day, the feeling of exhaustion is still present. The exhaustion can also be made worse with stress, exercise, or even just plain overdoing it.

There’s no definitive way to get CFS; it can happen over time or come on suddenly. Like fibromyalgia, RA, lupus and other autoimmune diseases, people who have CFS can feel fine one day and then feel extremely tired the next. Other symptoms may include:

  • muscle pain
  • trouble focusing
  • insomnia
  • low-grade fever
  • muscle aches and pains
  • difficulty focusing
  • tender lymph nodes
  • muscle weakness
  • visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain)
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications, and noise/sound
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the face, hands, or feet

Any of those symptoms sound familiar? If you’ve been diagnosed with any autoimmune disease any and all of these symptoms can be present, which means similar to fibromyalgia, a person may have to rule out things like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus before a diagnosis can be made.

According to at least one doctor that I spoke with, it is common for the symptoms to be present for six or more months before they will consider a diagnosis. There is no definitive lab test for it.

If you think you may have CFS, see your doctor. Your doctor will:

  • Ask you about your physical and mental health.
  • Do a physical exam.
  • Order urine and blood tests, which will tell your doctor if something other than CFS might be causing your symptoms.
  • Order more tests, if your urine and blood tests do not show a cause for your symptoms.

Usually a classification of CFS is made if your symptoms persist for approximately six months, and your testing does not show any other issue that would be causing them. This process can take a long time, so try to be patient with your doctor. While these tests are being done, talk to your doctor about ways to help ease your symptoms. Although CFS is not a form of depression, as with many other autoimmune diseases, patients may develop depression as a result of dealing with a long-term illness.


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