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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) or post-viral fatigue syndrome (PVFS), is a syndrome characterized by extremely low levels of energy over a prolonged period, affecting the central nervous system (CNS), immune, and many other systems and organs.
Incidence of the condition
Several studies in the United States have found between 75 and 420 cases of chronic tiredness syndrome for every 100,000 adults. Research also proved that 60 to 85% of all patients are women. Members of ethnic minorities and low income classes are slightly more likely to develop this problem.
The most common symptom is certainly constant tiredness and profound, overwhelming exhaustion, both mental and physical, which is worsened by exertion, and is not relieved by rest. There are many other symptoms that could be a part of this syndrome and the most common are:
Pain in this syndrome is very common and present in almost all cases.
It may include:
- muscle pain,
- joint pain,
- lymph node pain,
- sore throats,
- abdominal pain
Some patients have also experienced bone, eye and testicular pain, neuralgia and painful skin sensitivity.
This doesn’t happen very often but people with chronic fatigue syndrome may experience some cognitive problems and some of the most common symptoms are forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty thinking and concentration difficulties.Some experts have also reported possible aphasia, agnosia, loss of cognitive body map and other neurological symptoms.
It is reported that some people with chronic fatigue syndrome are sensitive to light, sound, and some chemicals and foods.
Poor temperature control
Several studies have proven that people with this syndrome often have big problems with controlling their body temperature. For example, they report big temperature fluctuations. This is probably due to involvement of the hypothalamus whose malfunction may be the cause of the syndrome.
One of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome is the un-refreshing sleep. Some people also report insomnia and difficulties in maintaining a sleep schedule.
Some of the most common psychological problems are:
- emotional fluctuations,
- emotional flattening
Experts still don’t know what the exact cause of these symptoms is.
Experts are saying that some abnormalities in the autonomic nervous system are very common. The most commonly reported are low blood volume, orthostatic intolerance, dizziness and light-headedness, especially when standing up quickly. Hormonal abnormalities may include abnormal vasopressin metabolism, abnormal ACTH response leading to hypothyroidism, reduced ability to respond to physiological and emotional stress.
There are several less frequent symptoms such as: abdominal pain, alcohol intolerance, bloating, chest pain, chronic cough, diarrhea, dizziness, dry eyes and mouth etc.