We all know the effects tiredness plays on our health, mood and overall lifestyle, which is why sleep is so important.
But what if sleep didn’t recharge your batteries?
This is just part of the reality for people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. There is so much more to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome than ‘feeling tired’. Unfortunately, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is commonly misunderstood as no single cause has been identified.
Suspect you might be living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Go through our Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms checklist to check the signs.
Ongoing Extreme Tiredness
The most common symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a type of extreme tiredness called post-exertional malaise. This is a severe and persistent fatigue which won’t go away with sleep or rest. Sufferers deal with this all or most of the time.
Using small amounts of energy—physically, mentally, or both—can leave Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers feeling completely exhausted and presents major challenges in day-to-day life.
Most people might consider grocery shopping, getting ready for work, or simply going out for dinner with friends to be a minor activity. For people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, these activities can be extremely exhausting, and it may take them longer to recover.
Post-exertional malaise also causes a spike in other symptoms.
Because Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is very complex, and no single cause is identified, there are many other symptoms to look out for. Read on for a comprehensive list of the other symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
When you’re living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you might notice that you’re unusually sensitive to certain things, which may include:
- Bright light
- Some foods
- Some medication
You may feel ongoing symptoms of an illness that don’t follow the normal pattern of being sick. For example, you may experience:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Swollen glands
- A sore throat
Another symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is feeling pain. Types of pain could include the following:
- Headaches or migraines
- Aching muscles or joints
- Back pain
- Pins and needles
Not only do Chronic Fatigue Sufferers struggle with an inability to recharge, they often find it difficult to fall asleep. This can manifest in many ways, such as:
- Difficulty getting to sleep
- Waking up in the early hours and unable to get back to sleep
- Waking up multiple times a night
- Sleeping too much
Brain fog is another symptom of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This is a general sense that you’re not thinking as clearly or sharply as you usually do. You may notice:
- Trouble concentrating
- Short term memory problems
- Foggy vision
You may also have physical symptoms, such as the following digestive problems:
- Loss of appetite
Problems with The Nervous System:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can also affect your nervous system. You may notice problems like:
- Poor circulation
- Loss of balance
- Drop in blood pressure
The Effects of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The effects vary between individuals. While some people are too ill to work, study or even socialise, others can manage their illness through medication and therapy.
A mild case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome can reduce a person’s activity by at least 50 percent. A moderate case can leave a person mostly housebound, while a severe case can leave a person bed-bound and in need of daily care.
Who’s At Risk?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome does not discriminate, however women in their 40s and 50s are the most commonly affected. Some argue these statistics could be because women are more likely to go to the doctor for solutions.
Stress is another risk-factor. Poor stress management may put you at risk of developing the condition.
The exact cause of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is still unknown, however common triggers have been recognised.
Some viral infections have been known to develop into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Researchers are yet to establish one single type of infection triggering the disease, however suspicion surrounds viruses such as Ross River virus, Q fever, human herpes virus 6, and Epstein-Barr virus.
Although no link has been identified, reports show many people developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after having these viruses. In fact, research shows 1 in 10 people with Epstein-Barr virus, Ross River and Coxiella burnetii (bacterial pathogen that causes Q fever) develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms.
Problems with the immune system could also be linked to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have a weakened immune system, however the connection between the two is still unclear.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers also show signs of hormonal imbalances, but it is unclear if this actually causes the disease.
With very little scientific evidence behind the causes, one thing we know for sure is the seriousness of the disease.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is so much more than feeling tired. People suffering with the illness not only have to deal with the illness itself, but also with societal misconceptions.
It’s a common assumption that people living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are ‘just tired’ or the illness is ‘in their head’. This can cause the sufferer to push beyond their limits, only making the symptoms worse and daily life harder.
Now that we understand more about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, its symptoms and effects, it’s clear a double shot coffee isn’t the answer.
If you fit the profile for the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptom checklist, or if you suspect you could be living with the condition, make an appointment with your doctor.
Treatment varies for each individual and aims to address each symptom with medication and therapies, as well as lifestyle adjustments.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a serious condition and treatment can help you live your best life.