The main symptom is persistent or relapsing debilitating fatigue that does not respond to bed rest and that reduces normal activity levels by 50% or more for 6 months or longer. Other symptoms include painful, palpable lymph nodes, myalgia, arthralgia low grade fever, sore throat, pharyngitis, sleep disturbances, depression and inability to concentrate. If you or your loved one have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), you should learn about treatment and coping with this disease. This disease can affect you physically, emotionally and socially.
How is chronic fatigue syndrome treated?
It is most important for you to have an appropriate and accurate diagnosis to guide treatment and further evaluation.
The goals of treatment are to decrease symptoms and improve function. In most of cases combination of drugs and non-drug therapies is recommended. The therapy should be individual. Some therapy which helps you doesn’t help another person whit CFS. If you notice that your doctor doesn’t know much about CFS, you should find another doctor who treats patient with CFS. Good relationship between you and your doctor can be the key to managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Lifestyle changes and exercise
There is no cure for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but there are different things you can do to relieve your symptoms. Some lifestyle changes can help you cope with diseases. Lifestyle changes could include: stress reduction, dietary restrictions, stretching and nutritional supplementations. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may have a profound impact on your daily life. That requires significant lifestyle changes and adaptation to new limitations.
You should have diary, write down what you do each day and note when you feel really tired. Look the list to find out which activities tire you out, than stop or limit those activities. Some good occupational therapist can help you stop or do less of the things that seem to trigger your tiredness.
Sometimes exercise can increase your energy levels. Before you start with exercises you should discuss about that with your doctor. He or she can help you create individual exercise plan. Your doctor can help you create a plan that is right for you. Don’t push yourself too much when you exercise. Too much exercise could worse your symptoms. You should avoid overactivity and prevent deconditioning.
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome such as sleep problems, anxiety and depression, muscle aches, can be treated with medication. The drugs may only reduce your symptoms, but they don’t cure the fatigue. Most symptoms improve with time.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen Advil, Motrin and naproxen Aleve are pain relievers. They can help with body aches, headaches, and muscle and joint pain. You should know that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have some side effects. Discuss with your doctor about side effects.
If you have runny nose and itchy eyes (allergy symptoms), doctor may prescribe to you antihistamines. In some cases antidepressants can help improve sleep and ease pain.
Some people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome try alternative treatments. Some of them get better, but it could be placebo effect. Alternative treatments usually include: yoga, stretching, or self-hypnosis massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care. Be careful, because alternative treatments, dietary supplements could harm you. You should talk with your doctor before you try an alternative treatment. Don’t believe in everything you read, especially about alternative treatments. Convential medicine is more useful.
What can I do to cope with CFS?
This disease interrupt your daily activities, affect on your life, it’s normal for you to feel angry, or upset when you have an illness like CFS. Some kind of psychotherapy can be helpful to cope with disease. It can be good for you to join CFS support group.
There are ways can you help yourself. You should write your diary to find out when you aren’t tired. Plan your activities for these times. You should have some activities; exercise can help your body and mind.
Charge your battery; express your feelings, such as sadness, anger and frustration. It is much easier coping whit disease, when family and friends support you. You should know that emotional support is important in coping with disease. You may loss concentration; you should give yourself more time for activities that take concentration.
A psychotherapist, using standard psychotherapy and counseling methods, can help you work through this disease. Psychotherapist may recommend a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Cognitive behavioral therapy in some cases can help chronically ill patients cope with illness. Recent studies indicate that Cognitive behavioral therapy can be useful in treating some CFS patients.
This therapy can help you to learn to manage activity levels, stress and symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you better adapt to the impact of CFS. Doctor’s role is to provide your symptoms relief and help you coping whit CFS. If you have good relationship with your doctor, you can significant reduce your symptoms.
Memory and concentration complaints are two of the more distressing symptoms. Schedulers and written resource manuals can be helpful in addressing cognitive problems.
People whit CFS could suffer from secondary depression. About 50 % of CFS patients develop depression sometime during the course of the illness. If someone has depression he needs help. Treating depression can reduce anxiety and stress, but it isn’t a cure for CFS.
If your doctor prescribes antidepressants, you should know that these medications could cause side effects.
People whit CFS often uses nutritional supplements and vitamins for symptom relief. But you should know these products are unregulated. Don’t use any nutritional supplement, before you consult whit your doctor. If you use any of these products tell that to your doctor. Doctor should determine safety and possible negative interactions with prescribed medications. You should avoid herbal remedies like germander, chaparral comfrey, ephedra, kava, licorice root, yohimbe and any other. You should have a well balanced diet.
You can experience pain in muscles and joints. Some people whit CFS may also complain of headaches. On the beginning of therapy doctor usually give simple analgesics like acetaminophen, Aspirin or NSAIDS.
You also may have symptoms of orthostatic instability, dizziness and light-headedness. Treatments for orthostatic problems include volume expansion for CFS patients. If you have these symptoms you should increase fluid and salt intake, if that doesn’t help doctor will prescribe you some medications.
Treatment of CFS usually include: lifestyle changes, prevention of overexertion, stress reduce, dietary restrictions, gentle stretching and nutritional supplementation and drug therapy. If you have CFS, most important is to find out what helps you to decrease pain, and raise your energy.