Somewhere between 2% and 5% of the population can be suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) at any one time. This illness has been known by several other names and may well be more familiar to you as what was referred to as ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) or even post-viral fatigue syndrome. Whichever name you know it by, CFS sufferers typically have difficulty sleeping, low levels of concentration on everyday tasks and quite often depression. All of which makes CFS particularly debilitating.
There are several symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome. Whilst no one of these symptoms would lead to a CFS diagnosis, if they occur in combinations then they may well point to CFS, rather than some other illness such as seasonal flu or even more dangerous strains such as swine flu. The most significant symptom is a recurring sense of fatigue lasting for months, that no amount of sleep appears to alleviate. Associated with this will be memory loss, an inability to concentrate on even straightforward tasks, headaches, unexpected weight loss, muscle and joint aches, fevers and even swollen glands. If you should have a combination of those symptoms you should see your doctor immediately. Whilst you could have CFS those symptoms could also indicate a more serious illness such as kidney failure!
Using health supplements to battle CFS.
There are several health supplements that can be taken to help battle the effects of CFS. However, don’t forget that nutritional deficiencies can often bring about fatigue, headaches and pains – just the sort of symptoms that might make you think you have CFS. So, if you are on a diet or have not been eating well – reconsider your current diet and try taking multi-vitamin and multi-mineral supplement first. Failing that, the following are the main health supplements you’re recommended to try. First off you need to restore some sense of balance to your immune system so vitamin C, carotenoids and St John’s Wort all have powerful anti-viral properties and will also start to fight any feelings of depression you might have. Echinacea is another health supplement that will improve your immunity as will herbs such as astragalus – which has both anti-viral and immunity enhancing effects. If you use those two health supplements – take them on alternative days to one another. Although you’ll sleep a lot with CFS – you’ll never seem to get a good nights sleep. To counter this use a preparation of valerian or 5-HTP, the classic health supplements for insomnia. Should you suffer from any glandular problems, especially adrenal glands, use Siberian ginseng or liquorice, that will promote the secretion of cortisol to boost your energy and reduce stress. Use pau d’arco to fight any potential microbe/bacterial infections or a goldenseal tonic. Finally, as an overall or general tonic, try drinking sarsaparilla root tea.
Causes of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Medical opinion is, by and large, split as to what causes CFS, whether it is one specific condition or whether it arises due to a series of largely unrelated symptoms. There is, however, general agreement that the symptoms of CFS are very similar to that of fibromyalgia with additional muscular pains; either way CFS is known to be more prevalent in women than men. So, although the specific cause of CFS isn’t yet understood there can be little doubt that an impaired immune response system as CFS sufferers often have other immune response issues, such general allergies in 65% of CFS patients. In extreme cases CFS patients are also diagnosed as suffering form lupus, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissue. Preceding the symptoms of fatigue are often flu like viral infection and/or other viruses like Epstein-Barr (causing glandular fever) and Candida (causing Thrush). If the body is undernourished and/or stressed then complications can arise leading to CFS. Other symptoms eventually leading to the onset of CFS include: abnormal hormone levels, brain inflammation, low blood pressure and event the presence of environmental toxins.
CFS and the yuppie flu fallacy.
CFS has been known of since the 19th century when it was known as neurasthenia. However, it really came to prominence as an illness in the 1980s – coinciding with the rise of the ‘yuppie’ culture, hence CFS also being known as yuppie flu. The reason for this is that back then CFS was seen as a reaction to the ‘work hard, play hard’ philosophy in the younger professional workers of the day. Such notions are now dismissed as CFS can occur in all age groups and walks of society.