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Chronic fatigue syndrome: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About chronic fatigue syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder characterised by a spectrum of vague clinical symptoms which may hamper daily activities. The cause of this syndrome has not been detected yet and unfortunately, it is an incurable condition.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Incidence, age and sex

Chronic fatigue syndrome may be a common disorder in general population. However it remains unnoticed in a lot of individuals due to the vague nature of complaints. Although it may occur in any age group, it is predominantly seen in women in their 40s and 50s.

Signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome: Diagnosis

The clinical features of chronic fatigue syndrome are generalised and vague, resulting in late diagnosis or failure to diagnose the condition in some individuals. The most prominent symptom includes prolonged and tremendous fatigue which does not go away with rest. This may be accompanied with muscle and joint pains. The muscles of the lower back, legs and shoulders are characteristically affected. An individual may experience pain in small and large joints, which typically manifests with lack of swelling and redness of the affected joint. Other features include non-specific headache, frequent episodes of sore throat and painful enlargement of lymph nodes near the jaw area. Some individuals may also experience lack of concentration, memory problems, sleep disturbances and mood changes. This syndrome may also be associated with irritable bowel disease in some individuals.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disorder which is very difficult to diagnose. The doctor may take a detailed history and conduct a thorough physical examination to detect any organ disorder. Certain blood tests may also be advised to rule out other diseases and finally arrive at the appropriate diagnosis.

Causes and prevention of chronic fatigue syndrome

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not exactly clear, though some factors have been postulated to be related to this syndrome. Such factors include poor immunity or emotional stress which may play a causative role in chronic fatigue syndrome. It has been hypothesized that this syndrome may occur as a complication after a viral episode.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Complications

This complex syndrome may result in tremendous distress to the affected individual and also affect him/her not only physically but also emotionally and socially. However, no grave health concerns have yet been documented.

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Treatment

It is very unfortunate that chronic fatigue syndrome has no cure as of present. Its clinical progression is quite unpredictable and may play a variable course. Some individuals may be fortunate enough to be relieved by it within a few years but it may stay life-long in some persons. Symptomatic relief may be provided with medications for sleep and muscle and joint pains. Some individuals with mood changes may warrant anti-depressants. Healthy, nutritional diet along with relaxation techniques may go a long way in controlling this disorder.