CFS or chronic fatigue syndrome, is the all too common and debilitating sleep disorder usually characterized by extreme exhaustion that can last for extended periods. A diagnosis of CFS is most often made after six or more months of constant, unrelenting fatigue symptoms. While there is not a known cure for CFS, doctors believe there are several contributing factors including but not limited to stress, infection, hormonal imbalance and sleep deprivation.
Like just about every other ailment, poor dietary intake and lack of a regular exercise regimen are also felt to be triggers for development of CFS. However, because no discovery has been made on the exact cause, doctors often find it hard to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome as the patient could be suffering these symptoms as related to another disease or ailment.
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has developed a protocol for diagnosing CFS. In addition to the symptoms of ongoing exhaustion and fatigue for 6 months or longer, the patient must exhibit at least four of the following:
- Short term memory problems
- Prolonged and severe exhaustion
- Muscle pains and weakness
- Multiple areas of joint or lymph node swelling or pain
- Recurrent sore throat
- Severe and recurrent headaches
- Unrefreshed sleep
Also due to lack of cause, no cure has been found. The treatment options available today are merely for symptom relief and as an aid in maintaining body functionality. Doctors often recommend a combination therapy regimen consisting of prescription medications and other non-drug treatments. Diet overhaul and restrictions are commonly placed, as well as the addition of nutritional supplementation for symptom control. Lifestyle changes may be recommended as well.
Oddly enough, a routine exercise regimen is essential in CFS treatment. Doctors will undoubtedly want to closely monitor the patient and physical activity should be supervised to avoid further symptom aggravation. A sample system that might be recommended could be 10 or 15 minutes of slow to mild physical activity to be followed by a more rigorous activity for 30 minutes. Research shows regular exericise promotes a healthy heart and better circulation. If these activities are to strenuous, simple stretching exercises and relaxation techniques are often used. Yoga, for instance, has been very helpful in patients afflicted with CFS.
Herbalists and some primary care physicians will also request that the patient start an herbal remedy. Herbal therapies are safe, natural and often very effective. Echniacea root, used for boosting the immune system, is a helpful agent for chronic fatigue syndrome treatment. Viral infections have been linked to triggering CFS, therefore a strong immune system that can fight off these harmful viruses would be a plus. Another suggestion is licorice to purge the body of harmful toxins and restore immune system gaps. Ginseng root is another herb commonly used for its natural ability to restore energy and vitality.
Finally, the simple method of living a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet can greatly affect a chronic fatigue symptom diagnosis. Eating the right amounts of proper foods provide our bodies with vitamins and minerals necessary for overall health.