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Del Mar, CA

Chronic Fatigue in Leucadia, CA

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CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn't go away with rest and can't 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 one cause has been identified, and because many other conditions generate similar symptoms, CFS can be difficult to diagnose.

There are no tests for CFS. Your physician will need to rule out other reasons for your fatigue when determining a diagnosis.

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

CFS can affect anyone, though it's most frequent amongst females in their 40s and 50s. There's currently no cure, but treatment can alleviate symptoms.

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

What causes CFS?

The source of CFS is not known. Researchers hypothesize that contributing factors might include:

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

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

Though CFS can sometimes develop after a viral infection, no specific kind of infection has been identified to cause CFS. Some viral infections that have been studied in connection with 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 pneumoniae, have also been studied in connection with CFS.

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

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

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

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

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

What are the symptoms of CFS?

Symptoms of CFS differ according to the individual and the severity of the condition.

The most common symptom is fatigue that's serious enough to interfere with your everyday activities.

For CFS to be diagnosed, a dramatically reduced ability to execute your normal everyday activities with fatigue must last for a minimum of 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 activity.

CFS can also present sleep problems, such as:

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

Additionally, you might 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 consist of:

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

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

Symptoms might sometimes even disappear entirely, which is referred to as remission. But, it's still possible for symptoms to return later on, which is referred to as a relapse.

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

How is CFS diagnosed?

CFS is a very difficult condition to diagnose.

According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2015, CFS develops in approximately 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 tests to screen for CFS. Its symptoms are similar to many other conditions. Many individuals with CFS don't "look sick," so physicians may not realize that they actually have a health condition.

In order to get a CFS diagnosis, your physician will rule out other possible causes and review your medical history with you.

They'll confirm 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 causes of your fatigue is a vital part of the diagnosis procedure. Some disorders with symptoms that are similar to those of CFS include:

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

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

Due to the similarities between symptoms of CFS and several other conditions, it's important to not self-diagnose. Consult with your doctor 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 therefore might require various kinds of treatment to manage the condition and alleviate their symptoms.

Treatments include:

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

Most individuals with CFS will improve over time, particularly with treatment, although some individuals do not make a complete recovery.

It's also likely there will be durations when your symptoms get better or worsen.

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 Leucadia, California, please visit our website at or give us a call at (760) 274-2377

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