Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a neurological illness that can affect both children and adults. It regularly manifests as deep fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, exercise intolerance, and “brain fog.” However, as with most illnesses, each case of CFS is unique and can have different symptoms that vary in intensity.
The specific cause of CFS has not been determined. However, it is thought that the illness is brought about by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because there is no reliable measure or test available to identify CFS, diagnosis is based on reported symptoms and process of elimination.
There are three “core” symptoms you need to experience to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome:
- A lowered ability to perform activities. The lessened activity should coexist with fatigue and must be experienced for six months or longer. While fatigue is a common feeling in most people, CPS fatigue is:
- Not a result of difficult activity
- Not relieved by sleeping
- Was not a life-long problem before becoming ill
- Tiredness increases dramatically after completing regular activities. For example, a simple grocery trip would cause a physical crash that would require a nap before going home.
- Sleep problems. Even after a full night’s sleep, someone with CFS would not feel energized. They have problems with falling or staying asleep.
There is currently no “cure” for chronic fatigue syndrome, but things can be done to manage the symptoms.
Prescription or over-the-counter medications improve certain cases. Counseling is also strongly recommended for those who suffer from long-term health issues. Additionally, a strong focus is placed on addressing the sleep issues that accompany CFS by reducing caffeine consumption, changing bedtime routines, etc.
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