Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM A SITE CALLED WOMEN’S HEALTH MATTERS. This is a brief but complete summary of the symptoms facing people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.


The fatigue in CFS/ME is different from the fatigue that most of us experience. Usually when we overexert ourselves we feel “tired” for a short period and are able to feel refreshed after a period of relaxation or sleep. With CFS/ME, the fatigue is severe. It is severe enough to significantly reduce a person’s ability to perform their usual activities. It decreases their activity level to at least 50 percent of their former level of activity. This affects all aspects of a patient’s life – social, work, time with family and friends, etc. It can be quite devastating.

Post-exertional Malaise and/or Fatigue

The “malaise” that is felt by individuals with CFS/ME following exercise, or even routine exertion, has been described as the pain, fatigue and discomfort associated with a severe “flu”. This post-exertional malaise usually lasts for 24 hours or more. It is often accompanied by decreased mental functioning. As an example, a person with CFS/ME may have to rest in bed for three hours to recover after shopping for half an hour.

Sleep Dysfunction

Insomnia is a particularly disturbing aspect of CFS/ME. Usually, sleep restores us when we are tired. In those with CFS/ME, sleep is disturbed, with difficulty getting to sleep, frequent wakenings, and reduced deep sleep. After sleep, the person often wakes up unrefreshed, feeling as tired as they did before they went to bed.


The pain in CFS/ME is felt throughout the body. The pain in CFS/ME can be sharp, shooting, burning or aching pain in the muscles. Approximately 75 percent of those with CFS/ME experience pain in the tender points associated with fibromyalgia, however, the pain is not limited to these tender points. Joints are often painful, but not swollen. Many people also develop new headaches with the illness, including tension headaches, pressure headaches and migraines. Pain may also contribute to poor sleep quality.

Brain Function Problems - Neurological/Cognitive Dysfunction

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of CFS/ME is the loss of cognitive function that people experience, particularly when they have overextended themselves. People with CFS/ME often experience “brain fog” or confusion. They have difficulty with concentration, slowed mental processing, groping for words and difficulty multi-tasking. They have short-term memory problems to the point where they may forget their own plans, where they parked the car, or what they have just read in a book.

Other common brain function symptoms include loss of depth perception, blurred vision, loss of balance, and increased sensitivity to “sensory stimuli” such as light, sound and odors. People with CFS/ME are more easily “overloaded” by sensory stimuli, too much information, emotional stress or physical effort. They may not be able to block out background noise to listen to conversations, while at a party, for example. This “overload phenomenon” may lead to a “crash” where the person becomes immobilized by physical and mental fatigue. The cognitive symptoms become worse as the person becomes more fatigued.

Problems with Automatic Body Functioning (Autonomic Nervous System)

The autonomic nervous system regulates key functions in our bodies that occur “automatically,” without us thinking about them. This includes keeping our heart beating, blood pressure regulated, stomach and intestines functioning properly and lungs working, for example. A variety of symptoms result when this system becomes affected.

Commonly, people with CFS/ME experience a drop in blood pressure either when standing up or after standing for about 10 minutes. This can cause light-headedness, dizziness, visual changes and sweating.

Other common symptoms include shortness of breath, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, gas and bloating.

Hormonal/Neuroendocrine Symptoms

When the neuroendocrine system is affected, this affects the messengers in the brain that regulate activities such as maintaining body temperature. People with CFS/ME may have altered body temperature. Often their temperatures are below normal.

People with CFS/ME may have altered body temperature. Often their temperatures are below normal. Other symptoms include loss or change in appetite, noticeable weight gain or loss.

A frightening symptom is that of “crashing” where the person has a period of immobilizing physical and/or mental fatigue. As noted earlier, this often happens when the person is “overloaded” physically, mentally or emotionally.

Immune System Problems

Some people with CFS/ME have symptoms indicating an immune response to a viral exposure, most often at the onset of their illnesses. This includes feeling “unwell” and feverish, having a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may occur later in the illness and be associated with activities that do not normally trigger an immune response, such as physical exercise or stress.

Other common symptoms include chemical sensitivities/intolerances such as to perfumes, diesel fuel, etc., food sensitivities and increased sensitivity to medications.

Via: Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
^ Top