Chronic fatigue syndrome – Risk factors, symptoms, causes and more

Chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome causes extreme tiredness. It is a never ending feeling of fatigue, that does not go away even with rest and sleep. There has been no underlying medical ailment found, that causes chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS. Usually, women have a higher risk of CFS. However, this disorder can occur in anyone. Here are a few things to know about chronic fatigue syndrome.

Common risk factors
People belonging to the age group of 40- 50 years are generally at a high risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome. Additionally, women in this age group are at a higher risk than men. Prolonged allergies, a family history of CFS, genetic predisposition, unhealthy living environment, extreme psychological stress, and certain environmental factors also increase the risk of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Common symptoms
Based on the severity of the disorder, the symptoms will also differ from person to person. The most common symptom observed in those with CFS is extreme and severe fatigue. The intensity of fatigue is so extreme that it affects a person’s lifestyle. It hampers their ability to carry out every day routine tasks. This fatigue can last for six months or more. In some cases, a person may experience post-exertional malaise or PEM. PEM is extreme fatigue experienced for 24 hours after carrying out mental or physical activities. Some people may also experience other symptoms like loss of memory, sleep disorders such as insomnia, low concentration, joint pain, orthostatic intolerance, muscle pain, and frequent headaches.

Common causes
The exact cause of chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS is not yet known. There has been no conclusive research to determine what exactly causes CFS. However, there are multiple contributing reasons that cause chronic fatigue. These include a weak immune system, extreme stress, hormonal imbalances, and prolonged viral infections. In some cases, CFS occurs as an after-effect of a viral infection. There is no particular type of viral infection that has been found to be the only known cause of CFS. However, some infections have been closely studied to check whether they are directly related to chronic fatigue syndrome. These infections include Ross River virus, Epstein-Barr virus, rubella virus, and human herpesvirus 6. Another major cause of CFS is known to be genetic predisposition.

A possible diagnosis of chronic fatigue symptoms can be done only when a person experiences extreme fatigue for 6 months or more. Otherwise, the diagnosis of this disorder is difficult. The reason for this is that the symptoms of CFS are often similar to other diseases. Also, there have been no CFS-specific screening tests. The only way to diagnose CFS is by observing the common symptoms. Diagnosis is further possible by ruling out other disorders such as multiple sclerosis, mononucleosis, and Lyme disease.

Common treatments
There is no definite treatment or therapy that can cure chronic fatigue syndrome completely. Since every CFS patient experiences different symptoms, there are different therapies that will work. These treatments and therapies are usually prescribed to help alleviate the severity of the symptoms and manage CFS. Also, over-the-counter and prescribed medicines can help manage the condition.

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