Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also called Myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a debilitating disorder characterised by long-term fatigue and other symptoms that can make it hard to do everyday activities.
What is chronic fatigue syndrome?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes long-term tiredness and other health problems. The main symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome is feeling extremely tired. Other symptoms can vary from person to person. You may have chronic fatigue syndrome if you have had extreme tiredness for six months or more and also have at least four of the following symptoms:
- poor sleep
- joint pain
- a sore throat
- memory problems,
- dizziness and feeling run down
CFS can make it hard to do your usual activities.
The cause of CFS is unknown, but many possible factors may play a role, including viral infections such as glandular fever, problems with the immune system, hormone imbalance, or bacterial infections.
There is no single test to diagnose CFS, and it can be difficult to distinguish from other conditions. CFS is often misdiagnosed as depression, fibromyalgia, or an eating disorder.
Anyone, including children, can suffer from CFS. The condition is more prevalent in women and tends to occur in the mid-20s to mid-40s.
Treatment for CFS
CFS is treated by relieving its symptoms. The type of treatment you receive will depend on how the condition affects you. There is currently no cure for CFS; there are treatments that may help you manage the condition.
- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
- energy management – where you’re advised about how to make the best use of the energy you have without making your symptoms worse
- medicine to control symptoms such as pain and sleeping problems
Many people with CFS improve over time with treatment.
CFS can be difficult to live with. Extreme fatigue and other physical symptoms can make it challenging to go about daily activities. Lifestyle changes may be necessary.
CFS can also affect your emotional and mental health and have a negative effect on your self-esteem.