Chronic fatigue syndrome is complex disorder which is associated with unexplained extreme level of fatigue. While this disorder may affect individuals of any age, it is more frequently observed in females and individuals in the age group of 20 to 40 years. The unique feature of the fatigue is that it is aggravated on mental or physical activity but is not alleviated by rest.
There is ambiguity over the exact cause of fatigue; however there are a few theories that have tried to explain the phenomenon. Most experts believe that the condition is characterized by a combination of environmental factors coupled with genetic predisposition of an individual.
- Viral infection theory attempts to link chronic fatigue with an underlying viral infection. Experts suggest that certain viral infections can lead to manifestations similar to those experienced by individuals suffering from chronic fatigue. Herpes, Epstein Barr virus and mouse leukemia virus are commonly suspected viruses.
- Immune disorder can lead to symptoms similar to chronic fatigue. Immune disorders or problems associated with nutritional deficiencies, dietary irregularities or genetic predisposition are included in this explanation.
- Hormonal imbalance can lead to abnormal levels of key hormones like thyroid hormones, adrenal hormones, etc which can lead to symptoms associated with chronic fatigue. Endocrinal disorder of hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands is included in hormonal imbalance theory.
Diagnosis Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Since the causative factors for this syndrome complex are not clearly understood, diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and supported by certain select diagnostic tests. There are eight peripheral symptoms associated with the core symptom of fatigue, that are used to diagnose this condition,
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits or the neck.
- Unexplained muscular pain.
- Joint pain which can be associated with redness and or swelling.
- Headache which often differs in pattern, severity and manifestation.
- Sleep is usually unrefreshing.
- Poor memory and lack of concentration.
- Soreness in the throat.
- Extreme exhaustion which may last for more than 24 hours after mental or physical exertion.
Diagnosis is usually directed towards identifying causes linked to this disorder. The patient may undergo a battery of investigations attempting to rule out,
- Sleep disorders like insomnia, apnea or restless leg syndrome which are evaluated through EEG scans or other imaging/diagnostic tools.
- Medical disorders like under-active thyroid, diabetes, anemia, etc, which can be evaluated via blood tests and laboratory investigations.
- Mental health problems which often require psychiatric evaluation to rule out depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and bipolar disorders.
Natural Therapy For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The focus of the treatment is to aim at alleviating some of the symptoms along with managing some of the causes associated with the development of the condition. Some of the self care tips include,
- Relaxation and meditation can help reduce stress. Meditation can also help improve concentration and focus. Ensure that you practice relaxation and mediation techniques in quiet and peaceful environment.
- Improving your sleep can also help significantly in dealing with this disorder. Ensure you have a sleep routine. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol. Take a warm water bath before going to bed, which helps the body relax and ensures a sound sleep.
- Acupuncture, massage and yoga can also help improve the mental and physical condition associated with this disorder.
- Herbs like St. John’s Wort and homeopathic remedies like Nux-Vomica, are potentially useful to deal with this disorder.