Chronic fatigue syndrome refers to a persistent tiredness with no apparent cause. It affects many people worldwide; commonly women aged 25 to 45. Although the cause is unknown, most experts agree that it may be due to the interplay of infectious, immunological and psychogenic factors. 

Risk factors

Most doctors do not dare to identify the causes of chronic fatigue syndrome. A great emphasis is being put on immunology and psychology that may in combination with other physiological problems lead to chronic fatigue. Many experts talk about a fast pace of life, or a physically and mentally demanding lifestyle. Because chronic fatigue syndrome affects mainly women, it is associated with a challenging role of mothers who must cope with many responsibilities simultaneously, from childcare, to work and domestic duties, etc. If a weak immune system is combined with several other factors, the body is unlikely to cope with the strain and chronic fatigue is triggered. CFS is often associated with many infectious causes such as yeast infection.

Signs and symptoms

The main symptoms are a persistent fatigue, and unexplained, unresponsive physical and mental exhaustion. If lasting longer than six months, CFS diagnosis can be made. Often a minor fatigue is accompanied with joint pain, muscle pain and fever. Symptoms of CFS that are similar to a cold do not subside within several days or weeks when regeneration tends to take place. Persistent cold-like symptoms interchange with forgetfulness, depressive moods, sleep problems and general malaise. Their intensity depends on each individual; some suffer more than others.  

Preventing CFS

Maintaining the principles of a healthy lifestyle, regular sleep and a slower pace of life can prevent many diseases of civilisation including chronic fatigue syndrome. Very important life elements are rest, relaxation skills, regular personal pleasures, or activities that make us happy and promote a natural physical and mental balance. Maintaining harmonious family and love relationships, including those at work are also a form of prevention. Ideally, we should have a hobby, a favourite activity we can look forward to, which is satisfactory and puts us at ease. In terms of immunology, a weak immune system is a high-risk factor of CFS. For this reason the principles of a healthy lifestyle also include an adequate diet full of vitamins and minerals having a positive effect on the body. An adequate boost of immunity may be provided by natural food supplements

Treatment of CFS

Chronic fatigue syndrome often tends to be misinterpreted as a so called spring tiredness which develops due to a vitamin deficiency. Unlike CFS, the spring tiredness resolves within six months, and it can be alleviated by diet modifications. However, even CFS can be cured. About half of the patients affected recover spontaneously. While in others it depends on when the disease was detected. If revealed early, patients can work on their life pace. An important part of the treatment is psychotherapy which enables to discuss and influence the triggering factors and life situations. Infectious diseases that might be causing CFS are also treated. If people are aware of their own exhaustion and persisting fatigue, the disease may be stopped at its early stage using sleep progress charts, relaxation techniques and by re-considering own lifestyle. Because the body exhaustion and a persistent mental and physical strain greatly impact on the immune system, the targeted boost of immunity is necessary to treat and prevent chronic fatigue syndrome.     

Impact of the immune system on CFS

A major role in CFS plays the immune response. Suspected infectious agents causing CFS are viruses inducing mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), and yeasts (candida). As a result of a weak immune system and prolonged mental and physical strain the combined infectious factors lead to a malnourished and stressed body which responds by chronic fatigue. This condition may be prevented if a timely boost of the immune system is provided, thus the body can cope with adverse effects. On the other hand, a long-lasting weak immunity accentuates the CFS factors. When CFS is present, the immune system must be enhanced to prevent a more serious disease.

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