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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Chronic fatigue is long standing severe fatigue without substantial muscle weakness and without proven psychological or physical causes. Fatigue is associated with almost every pathology or disease. It is important that a lot of the causes of fatigue be ruled out before giving someone the diagnosis of “chronic fatigue”.
A person with chronic fatigue syndrome doesn’t experience severe improvement from rest or sleep. In conventional medicine, it is stated the exact cause of chronic fatigue is unknown. Some physicians speculate that it is Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6) or inflammation of nervous system but no specific virus or cause has been identified at this time.
Some examples of pathologies with fatigue that should be ruled out first are:
- endocrine disorders (diabetes, hypothyroidism etc.)
- muscle disorders
- nerve disorders
- auto-immune diseases
The main symptoms of CFS are:
- severe fatigue greater than six months
- fatigue that impairs daily functioning
- worse up to 24 hours after exercise
- muscle aches
- impaired short term memory
- sore throats
Different physicians may treat CFS in a variety of ways. Some physicians prescribe anti-virals like acyclovir. Some physicians use amantadine which is a treatment for Parkinson diseases and influenza A virus. Some physicians refer the patient for psychological therapy, because they believe the fatigue is due to depression.
No laboratory test can be used to confirm the diagnosis of chronic fatigue. A great deal of patients present to medical office to be treated for headaches or muscle aches. Most of the patients will have the diagnosis of fibromyalgia instead of chronic fatigue syndrome.
At Global Integrative Medicine, PLLC if a patient presents with the symptoms of severe fatigue, first we rule out any other major disorder that may have fatigue associated with it. If the person comes with chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia diagnosis from another doctor then a detailed medical history and intake is taken. On the initial visit the patient will spend one hour WITH the doctor discussing the person’s health and lifestyle. Each person is different and has unique living circumstances so the treatment is tailored the patient. Some of the patients may have adrenal insufficiency where they have been living with long term low levels of stress that have taxed their body. After treatment a lot of the patients say “I feel like my old self again”. Other patients may have an allergy where they are eating something everyday that they are allergic to which causes the patient to stay in a state of constant inflammation. In that case the person may be given a food allergy panel and given alternative to that food source etc. Another person may have a hormone that is imbalanced that was mistakenly overlooked by the previous healthcare personnel. In that case the patient may obtain a hormonal panel. Others may need assistance with lifestyle management. For example, a person who works two jobs may have to learn to take short breaks throughout the day to “recharge” and supplement their body with more nutrients due to the increased demands placed on the body.
If you are person suffering from severe fatigue and given the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia many wonderful options are available at GIM besides medications. Some of the treatments available are but are limited to nutritional counseling and supplementation, life style change, specialty labs to help identify the cause of the fatigue, bio-identical hormone therapy and much more.
If you are suffering from severe fatigue give yourself permission to take a break today even if it is for just a few minutes. Take a walk in the park or a warm bubble bath or whatever allows you to relax. Realize there is hope for your condition and many excellent treatments exist with alternative therapies to help improve or even eliminating your fatigue.
Wishing you much health and happiness,
Dr. Matesa Pringle is a naturopathic physician who practices in Mesa, Arizona. She employs alternative medicine as well as traditional medicine and serves the East Valley cities of Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Tempe, Apache Junction, Queen Creek, Phoenix, and even has some patients who travel from the West Valley!
Disclaimer: The information on this site regarding medical conditions is presented for general informational purposes only. It does not describe all available treatments. The information presented should not be used as a substitute for the advice provided by your own physician. Neither Global Integrative Medicine, PLLC, nor Dr. M. Pringle, assumes liability for anyone using information on this site. By using this site, you agree not to rely solely on any of the information for medical treatment. We strongly encourage you to see a licensed physician, such as Dr. M. Pringle or another of your choosing, and adhere to the physician’s recommended protocol first and foremost.