April 16, 2018
467 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome [16 Apr 2018]
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex disorder involving extreme fatigue. There is no definitive test for CFS – it is diagnosed by eliminating all other possible causes.
CFS can be very debilitating. One researcher compared it to end stage AIDS or advanced cancer, except that the victims can survive for years or even decades. Because they don’t die as quickly as in AIDS or cancer (and they have no energy to promote their cause), CFS research has not received the same attention. The majority of victims are female which may contribute to the dismissal of CFS by many government health organizations as psychological (“all in your head”).
The main symptoms and signs of CFS include:
• Extreme fatigue which does not improve with rest
• Even mild exercise worsens fatigue for more than 24 hours
• Brain fog – loss of memory and/or concentration
• Poor sleep quality
• Muscle and joint pain; headaches
Some characteristics of CFS that suggest an infectious not psychological cause:
• It appeared suddenly in the late 1970s, previously unrecorded
• Appears in clusters at different locations and times
• Sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes
• Opportunistic infections indicating an impaired immune system
• Much higher than normal incidence of certain rare cancers
• Abnormal brain scans resembling AIDS related dementia
CFS is much more widespread than one would expect given its low priority for research. Hillary Johnson writes “ME is now the most common chronic disease most people have never heard of until they acquire it.” CFS affects an estimated 20 million world-wide with more than 2 million in the USA (more than breast and lung cancer, AIDS, and MS combined).
The cause of CFS is officially “unknown”; a combination of factors is suspected possibly including genetic, viral/microbial, social and psychological. There is no known cure; treatment focuses on symptom relief.
Next week: XMRV – the cause of CFS?
Mayo Clinic website
Health Canada website
book Plague – One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS), Autism, and Other Diseases. Kent Heckenlively and Judy Mikovits, 2014
For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.