March 19, 2023

Chronic Fatigue and Exhaustion. How Do I Know if It Affects Me?

Chronic fatigue is common in adults over the age of 20. About 60% of the affected people are women. Chronic fatigue can lead to depression, and unfortunately, there is no cure for it, only therapeutic options that can relieve the problem. Depending on the duration of the symptoms, we can speak of recent fatigue (duration shorter than one month), prolonged fatigue (duration longer than one month), and chronic fatigue (more than six months).

What is chronic fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by rapid and intense fatigue, which prevents you from accomplishing normal activities. There are other symptoms, but the main one is prolonged fatigue that lasts for at least 6 months. Chronic fatigue is often associated with:

· Unrestful sleep, when the person does not wake up rested in the morning; · Having memory difficulties and the inability to keep focus and concentration; · Dizziness that worsens during movements such as getting up from a chair or sofa; · Doctors do not fully know the causes of these conditions, but it is believed to be a reaction of the body to stimuli of external and internal factors.

Causes of chronic fatigue

The cause of chronic fatigue is unknown. It is believed that some people are born with a predisposition to this disorder, and it is triggered by a combination of factors. The most important and common triggers are:

  • Viral infections: the viruses that can trigger the disorder can be Epstein-Barr, herpes virus, rubella virus. However, research is still being done on this.
  • Immune system problems: the immune system of people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome is also affected, but this link is not fully scientifically proven either.
  • Hormonal imbalances: people with chronic fatigue syndrome have abnormal levels of hormones produced by the hypothalamus, pituitary glands, or adrenal glands.
  • Physical or emotional trauma: these can vary a lot, but generally, they can be injury, surgery, or emotional stress.

Types of chronic fatigue

Depending on the duration of the symptoms, we can talk about recent fatigue (duration less than a month), prolonged fatigue (lasts more than a month), and chronic fatigue (over six months). Chronic fatigue is not the result of ongoing effort; it is not attenuated by rest; it causes substantial reduction of previous work activities, such as educational, social, or personal activities.

People that suffer from chronic fatigue present four or more of the following symptoms that persist or reoccur in a span of six or more consecutive months:

  • Deficiency in short-term memory or concentration
  • Pain in the throat region
  • Sensitive lymph nodes, cervical, or axillary nodules
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain in several joints without signs of local inflammation
  • Severe or newly occurring headaches
  • Unrestful sleep
  • Having a general ill-feeling after any effort for 24 hours.

The treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome has as basic elements cognitive behavioral therapy and kinesiotherapy. Low doses of antidepressants may be useful for improving your mood and sleep relief.

Some treatments for chronic fatigue

As mentioned before, there is no cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. Treatment for this condition focuses on relieving symptoms. Thus, the doctor may recommend treatment for:

  • Depression (if it exists): relieving symptoms of depression can help improve sleep and relieve pain. Your doctor may recommend low doses of antidepressants.
  • Orthostatic intolerance: symptoms such as nausea or fainting may occur. Medications that regulate blood pressure or heart rate may help reduce discomfort.
  • General pain: ibuprofen can be helpful.

The therapeutic strategy for chronic fatigue syndrome can be completed by:

  • Psychological counseling: This can help manage anxiety or any existing depression.
  • Relieving sleep problems: Your doctor may recommend avoiding caffeine or changing your bedtime routine.
  • Doing daily exercise: It is true that intense exercise can lead to worsening symptoms of chronic fatigue, but on the other hand, maintaining physical activity is indicated. Exercise should begin at a very low intensity.

There are other steps you can take to relieve any signs of chronic fatigue syndrome:

  • Remove sugar, fried foods, and processed meat from your diet: Sugar can temporarily increase energy, but it later aggravates fatigue.
  • Hydrate yourself: Hydration is important for improving or maintaining health.
  • Keep a food diary and remember to mention the symptoms: The information can also help determine the diagnosis by the doctor. Write down what you eat and keep track of how you feel.
  • Eliminate gluten and carbohydrate-rich foods from your diet: It can help if your nutritionist recommends a diet tailored to your needs. Smaller and more frequent meals are preferred in contrast to big meals.
  • Don’t abuse caffeine: Caffeine can give you a false sense of energy. Caffeine intake should not affect your sleeping schedule.
  • Do not skip eating fresh vegetables and fruits: They are full of nutrients and have very important health benefits.

Important aspects to remember:

Nutrition is very important in the case of chronic fatigue. There is no specific diet for chronic fatigue, but a balanced, healthy diet is an essential part of the treatment plan. You should talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or adding dietary supplements.

Keep in mind that:

Food supplements do not replace a healthy lifestyle or a balanced diet. Food supplements should be administered based on medical indications. Taking dietary supplements in excess or without proper information can be harmful to your health.

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Meet Zoe

A passionate blogger and wellness enthusiast who's on a mission to spread positivity and inspire others to live a healthy, happy life. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of health and wellness, Jane's blog is the go-to destination for anyone seeking tips, advice, and inspiration on how to achieve optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
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