The chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder characterized by fatigue of prolonged time period of at least six months. It is such type of fatigue which is not due to after some work or due to some disease. It is also not relieved by taking rest. It persists throughout a day.
Usually a person feels fatigue when he is ill or having some disease like any infectious or inflammatory disease. When these diseases settle down, fatigue also sets off and a person again starting feeling active and fresh. But in case of chronic fatigue syndrome a person remain in constant fatigue without having any medical problem.
Although exact cause is still not unknown, it is thought to be caused by inflammation within the nervous system due to some immune reactions in the nervous system. This syndrome is also linked with some viral infection such as human herpes virus 6 or Epstein bar virus. Other includes bacterial infections and oxidative stress which cause damage to tissues and result in this problem. The abnormalities of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis are also thought to produce this chronic type of fatigue.
Other causes are thought to be personal stress, tensions, age, environmental or genetical factors.
Signs and Symptoms
The people suffering from this disease usually experience symptoms of persistent fatigue which make a person unable to do anything or any activity, produce sluggishness, lethargy, sore throat, headache, problem in sleep, muscles irritation and pain, joint pain, patient remains unfreshed despite full and proper sleep, confusion and irritation also occur. There are signs of lymph node tenderness as well and mild fever. A patient may complaint of night sweats, chest pain and dysfunction of bowel habits. Psychological problems may also arise.
There is no perfect method to diagnose this disease. Various tests and CT scan or MRI are also not helpful. These can just be used to exclude other diseases which can cause fatigue and pain. This disease is not easily diagnosed. Thorough check up and complete history is required.
There is no exact treatment of this disease which will provide cure. Some drugs provide relieve from certain symptoms of sleep disorder, muscle pain or depression. These drugs only work to reduce these symptoms, they cannot eradicate them completely. Certain therapies are helpful in getting rid of this disease. Immunosuppressive agents are also beneficial in treating this disease. These include graded exercise therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Graded Exercise Therapy: It is a type of physical therapy which aims to reduce fatigue and it has been found successful in reducing fatigue in many people with this disease.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: It is a psychological therapy which enables the patient to learn his disease more and get completely informed of its signs and symptoms. Then this therapy aims to reduce these symptoms and makes a patient’s life better so that he may carry on his routine normally.
Prognosis: This is not so good. A relief from certain symptoms can occur after treatment. But this disease is not cure completely.