While occasional fatigue from physical exertion or from mental or emotional stress commonly results in fatigue, allowing time for rest and recovery should be enough to restore energy levels. Sometimes, however, people experience extreme fatigue that is not a result of any known cause and does not resolve itself with rest. For many, this condition is eventually diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Women, ages 40 – 50 who are undergoing significant stress are the group most likely to experience chronic fatigue syndrome, although men and all age groups may develop symptoms as well.
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown and research has been done to uncover a link between it and several viruses (such as Epstein Barr virus) and autoimmune diseases.
8 Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- extreme fatigue, especially after exertion
- insomnia Read how massage can help with insomnia.
- sleep that is not restorative
- memory and concentration problems
- enlarged lymph nodes in neck and underarms
- muscle and joint pain
- recurring sore throat over an eight-week period
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
It can be very difficult to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome, as diagnosis is largely a process of ruling out other conditions. CFS can imitate several other conditions such as mononucleosis, Lyme disease, lupus and fibromyalgia.
If you believe you may be experiencing chronic fatigue syndrome, experts suggest you keep a detailed journal of your symptoms. Note when they appear and when/if they resolve and, using a 1-10 scale, rate the severity of each symptom. Sharing this information with your doctor may aid in determining if you are suffering from chronic fatigue or some underlying medical condition.
Because CFS is hard to diagnose – and because there is no outward appearance of symptoms – it is common for others to believe the person with chronic fatigue syndrome is faking their illness. This makes living with chronic fatigue syndrome difficult and many find themselves isolated socially because of the restrictions in activity they endure.