Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
How do I know if I might have chronic
If you answer yes to
any of the questions listed below, you may have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS),
which is also called chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS).
1. Have you been tired (fatigued) for a
long time—more than 6 months—even though you are getting enough rest
and are not working too hard?
2. Has your doctor been unable to find
illnesses that could explain your symptoms?
3. Are you able to do less than half of
what you used to do, because you feel tired?
4. Have you had recurrent or persistent
problems for 6 months or more with any of the signs and symptoms listed
- Mild fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Unexplained muscle aches or weakness
- Headaches that are different from the kind you
usually get, or headaches that make your whole head hurt
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- Feeling very tired for more than 24 hours after
exercise that didn’t bother you before
chronic fatigue syndrome?
No one is
certain about what causes CFS. The symptoms may be
by an immune system that isn’t
working well. Or they may be caused by
kind of virus. Researchers are looking for the cause of
How is chronic fatigue syndrome
The first step is to see if
there is a medical cause for your fatigue. Your doctor will probably want to
review your symptoms and medical history, and give you a physical exam. Your
doctor may also want to do some blood tests, but lab testing is not often
helpful. Some of the symptoms, such as muscle aches, sleep problems, anxiety and
depression, can be treated with medicine. The medicine is intended only to
reduce your symptoms and allow you to be more active, not to cure the fatigue.
So far, there is no medicine that cures the entire syndrome. Most patients
improve with time.
How can I help
- Keep a daily diary to identify times when you
have the most energy. Plan your activities for these times.
- Keep up some level of activity and exercise,
within your abilities. Your doctor can help you plan an exercise program to
maintain your strength at whatever level is possible. Exercise can help your
body and your mind.
- Give yourself permission to recognize and express
your feelings, such as sadness, anger and frustration. You need to grieve for
the energy you have lost.
- Ask for support from family and friends. Look for
support groups or counseling in your community. Your doctor is another important
source of help. Emotional support is important in coping with a chronic health
- If your memory and concentration are affected by
chronic fatigue, keep lists and make notes to remind yourself of important
things. Also, give yourself more time to do things that take concentration.
Medicine may also help you sleep better, which might improve your memory and
How can my
Your doctor can work with
you to provide symptom relief and to help you find ways of coping with the
changes CFS makes in your life. Chronic fatigue affects you physically,
emotionally and socially. When you address all of these factors, you have the
best chance of adjusting to your illness and feeling more satisfied with your
life. If you have CFS, a good long-term relationship with your doctor helps.
This relationship is the key that helps you feel less