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Carmel Valley, CA

Chronic Fatigue in Del Mar, CA

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Chronic Fatigue Disorder in Del Mar, CA

CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by severe fatigue or exhaustion that does not go away with rest and can not be explained by an underlying medical condition.

CFS can also be described as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID).

The causes of CFS aren't fully understood yet. Some theories include viral infection, psychological stress, or a combination of factors.

Because no single cause has been determined, and because numerous other conditions generate similar symptoms, CFS can be challenging to diagnose.

There are no tests for CFS. Your doctor will have to rule out other causes for your fatigue when determining a diagnosis.

While CFS was previously a controversial diagnosis, it's currently widely accepted as a medical condition.

CFS can impact anyone, though it's most frequent among women in their 40s and 50s. There's currently no cure, however, treatment can alleviate symptoms.

Here's what you need to understand about CFS, including symptoms, treatment options, and outlook.

What triggers CFS?

The source of CFS is unknown. Researchers speculate that contributing factors might include:

  • viruses
  • a weakened immune system
  • stress
  • hormonal imbalances

It's also possible that some individuals are genetically predisposed to develop CFS.

Though CFS can in some cases develop after a viral infection, no single type of infection has been identified to cause CFS. Some viral infections that have been studied in relation to CFS include those caused by:

  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
  • human herpesvirus 6
  • Ross River virus (RRV)
  • rubella virus

Infections caused by bacteria, including Coxiella burnetii and Mycoplasma pneumonia, have also been studied in relation to CFS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has suggested that CFS might be the end stage of several various conditions, instead of one particular condition.

In fact, approximately 1 in 10 individuals with EBV, Ross River virus, or Coxiella burnetii infection will develop a condition that fulfills the requirements for a CFS diagnosis.

Additionally, researchers claim that those who've had severe symptoms with any of these three infections are at a greater risk for later developing CFS.

Individuals with CFS sometimes have weakened immune systems, but doctors don't know whether this is enough to cause the disorder.

Individuals with CFS can also sometimes have abnormal hormone levels. Physicians have not yet concluded whether this is significant, either.

What are the symptoms of CFS?

Symptoms of CFS vary based on the individual and the extent of the condition.

The most prevalent symptom is fatigue that's serious enough to disrupt your everyday activities.

For CFS to be diagnosed, a significantly reduced ability to execute your typical everyday activities with fatigue must last for at least 6 months. It must not be treatable with bed rest.

You will also experience extreme fatigue after physical or mental tasks, which is referred to as post-exertional malaise (PEM). This can last for more than 24 hours after the task.

CFS can also present sleep problems, such as:

  • feeling unrefreshed after a night's sleep
  • chronic insomnia
  • other sleep disorders

In addition, you may also experience:

  • loss of memory
  • decreased concentration
  • orthostatic intolerance (going from lying or seated to standing positions makes you light-headed, dizzy, or faint)

Physical symptoms of CFS may include:

  • muscle pain
  • frequent headaches
  • multi-joint pain without redness or swelling
  • frequent sore throat
  • tender and swollen lymph nodes in your neck and underarms

CFS affects some people in cycles, with periods of feeling worse and then better.

Symptoms may in some cases even disappear completely, which is referred to as remission. However, it's still possible for symptoms to return later, which is referred to as a relapse.

This cycle of remission and relapse can make it challenging to manage your symptoms, but it's possible.

How is CFS diagnosed?

CFS is a very challenging condition to diagnose.

According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS develops in about 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans. It's estimated, however, that 84 to 91 percent have yet to receive a diagnosis.

There are no medical exams to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other disorders. Many individuals with CFS do not "look sick," so doctors might not realize that they actually have a health condition.

In order to receive a CFS diagnosis, your doctor will eliminate other possible causes and discuss your medical history with you.

They'll verify that you at least have the core symptoms previously mentioned. They'll also ask about the duration and severity of your unexplained fatigue.

Eliminating other possible reasons for your fatigue is a vital part of the diagnosis process. Some disorders with symptoms that are similar to those of CFS include:

  • mononucleosis
  • Lyme disease
  • multiple sclerosis
  • lupus (SLE)
  • hypothyroidism
  • fibromyalgia
  • major depressive disorder
  • severe obesity
  • sleep disorders

The side effects of particular drugs, such as antihistamines and alcohol, can resemble symptoms of CFS also.

Because of the similarities between symptoms of CFS and several other conditions, it's important to not self-diagnose. Consult with your physician regarding your symptoms. They can work with you to get relief.

How is CFS treated?

There's presently no specific cure for CFS.

Each individual has various symptoms and thus may need different kinds of treatment to manage the disorder and alleviate their symptoms.

Treatments include:

  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • a structured exercise program called graded exercise therapy (GET)
  • medication to manage pain, nausea and sleeping problems

Most people with CFS will improve over time, especially with treatment, although some individuals do not make a full recovery.

It's also likely there will be durations when your symptoms improve or worse.

Kids and young people with CFS/ME are more likely to recover completely.

For further information about Dr. Stengler’s practice and his clinic in Del Mar, California, please visit our website at or give us a call at (760) 274-2377

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