Fatigue is common. Feeling of tiredness and lack of energy from work or stress is experience now and then systematically. And it is comparatively normal. But when your fatigue comes on suddenly and then goes, sometimes stops or never stops; when you are not able to do normal activities and get extremely tired like that – you most probably have a fatigue syndrome (or chronic fatigue).
Chronic fatigue is a condition of prolonged and severe tiredness or weariness (fatigue) that is not relieved by rest (for example with a few good nights of sleep) and is not directly caused by other conditions or situations. This condition is unexplained and persistent, and slowly reduces your activity levels.
For some reason chronic fatigue “prefers’ more female gender, as it is diagnosed two to four times more often in women than in men. It may be explained with biological, psychological, and social influences or just with the fact that women are more likely than men to talk with their doctors about prolonged fatigue.
Fatigue symptoms may suddenly come and go frequently for more than six months or just don’t go at all. They are very much similar to those of most common viral infections. You may experience the following symptoms:
Fatigue or tiredness – of ‘new kind’ that you’ve never experienced to this extent before;
· the episodes repeat or last for 6 months
· bed rest doesn’t improve the situation
Inability to do your daily activities
· you get tired faster that before the condition
· your tiredness and lack of energy is severe enough to restrict activity
Some other symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness (all over or multiple locations, not explained by any known disorder)
- Headaches (different from previous headaches in quality and severity)
- Joint pain without joint swelling or redness (often moving from joint to joint)
- Muscle aches (myalgias)
- Mild fever (38 C or less)
- Tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit
- Forgetfulness, inability to concentrate, confusion, or irritability
- Mental fatigue (brain fog)
- Recurrent sore throat
- Recurrent flu-like symptoms
- Feeling unrefreshed after sleeping 8-10 hours
- Desire to sleep
- Fatigue lasting more than 24 hours after an amount of exercise (that were normally tolerated before)
- Feeling of apathy (indifference toward fun or interesting activity)
- New sensitivities to food or medications, or chemicals
- Possible cognitive or sensory overload (e.g. photophobia and hypersensitivity to noise or emotional overload that may lead to anxiety)
- Even such symptoms as nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, urinary frequency and bladder dysfunction, difficulty breathing or pain on breathing
20-60% of all cases of fatigue syndrome are due to the physical causes. Emotional causes give 40 to 80% of all cases.
The exact cause of chronic fatigue is unknown, though the symptoms are clearly seen. Some reasons may include:
· Some researchers suspect it may be caused by a virus, for example by HHV-6 (human herpes virus-6) or Epstein-Barr virus.
· It may occur when a viral illness is complicated by a problem with the body’s immune response
· It may be caused by inflammation of pathways in the nervous system (inflammation may be some sort of immune response or process)
· Such factors as age, prior illness, stress, environment, or genetics may increase the risk to get the chronic fatigue
People report that the illness started after some disease or during a period of high stress. Others state that the syndrome develops more gradually with no clear event starting it.
Health experts suggest the following reasons for the chronic fatigue:
- Anemia (or iron-poor blood)
- Yeast infection in the body (candidiasis)
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Environmental allergy
First of all, doctor should consider every known possible causes of fatigue, and make sure that fatigue itself is not a symptom of some illness or condition. He would probably diagnose the possibility of tumors, infections, immune or autoimmune disorders, endocrine diseases, muscle or nerve diseases, psychological (or psychiatric) illnesses, and some others; also the possibility of drug dependence.
If there is no other cause of fatigue, and you experience the condition for long period of time and have at least 4 of the listed symptoms – you may have a chronic fatigue. If it appears to be a fatigue syndrome (or chronic fatigue, or chronic fatigue syndrome), next challenge for the doctor is to define the reason, or the cause of the problem. Then doctor defines the treatment.
Currently there is no treatment that has been proven to be effective in treating chronic fatigue. Though the symptoms are treated and the person may feel better.
The following treatment may be suggested:
- Antiviral drugs (such as acyclovir)
- Drugs to fight yeast infections in the body (such as nystatin)
- Medications to treat depression (antidepressant drugs)
- Medications to reduce pain, discomfort, and fever – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) – to treat body aches or fever
- Medications to treat anxiety
- Nonsedating antihistamines – relieve any prominent allergic symptoms (for example, runny nose)
Mind, that medications can cause side effects that may be worse than the original symptoms of chronic fatigue. You doctor should control the treatment.
Some other methods can be suggested for treating chronic fatigue:
1. New life habits
- Eating a balanced diet
- Active social lives
- Mild physical exercise (without causing more fatigue)
- Adequate rest
- Reduce stress, as too much of it can aggravate your symptoms
These all show very good result in treating chronic fatigue.
- Vitamin A – helps protect the body against invasion by pathogens such as viruses (which might trigger chronic fatigue syndrome). This vitamin also prevents fatigue caused by anemia (as it is needed for normal production of red blood cells).
- Provitamin A (Beta carotene) – is a precursor of vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables. It does not accumulate in the body. It will help to enhance immune function.
- Vitamin B Complex. They are easily lost when a person is under stress or is eating unhealthy food. Fatigue and depression can result from the depletion of B vitamins. B 6 is very important in preventing fatigue – it also helps to reduce PMS related mood swings and food cravings.
- Vitamin C – according to the research there is a clear relationship between the presence of fatigue and lack of vitamin C. This vitamin helps prevent fatigue caused by infections; it stimulates the production of interferon (that prevents the spread of viruses in the body).
- Vitamin E enhances immune antibody response and can act as an estrogen substitute. It si also successfully used in the treatment of fatigue.
- Iron – an essential component of red blood cells, that combines with protein and copper to make hemoglobin (the pigment of the red blood cells). Iron deficiency is a common cause for fatigue syndrome (especially in women)
- Magnesium is an important nutrient for patients with chronic candida infections (one of the cause of chronic fatigue as well).
- Zinc improves muscle strength and endurance and enhances immune function. It plays an important role in combating fatigue.
- Potassium deficiency has been associated with fatigue and muscular weakness. This mineral regulates the transfer of nutrients into the cells and works with sodium to maintain the body’s water balance.
- Calcium is a mineral that helps combat stress, nervous tension, and anxiety.
Before taking any supplements, consult your doctor or a nutritionist with specific questions about their use or possible side effects.
Some herbs provide an additional source of essential nutrients that help relax tension and ease anxiety. Others have mild anti-infective and hormonal properties in addition to their nutritional content. That will help to combat fatigue causing viruses, as well as provide support for the endocrine system.
Oat straw, Ginkgo biloba and Dandelion root. All these herbs stimulate and improve energy and vitality. While using them patients may note an increased ability to handle stress. Oat straw has been used to relieve fatigue and weakness, especially when there is an emotional component. Ginkgo biloba is a powerful antioxidant and help to combat fatigue by improving circulation to the brain. It also increases your body’s circulation.
Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus), Ginger and Licorice root (use with caution) in addition to above mentioned benefits have been used to increase longevity and decrease fatigue and weakness. They are believed to be a powerful immune booster. Ginseng can also strengthen your adrenal glands and thus give you more energy to stay awake.
Anxiety and insomnia very often worsen fatigue symptoms. Passionflower (as well as Valerian root) has a calming and restful effect on the central nervous system. It elevates levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin (amino acid that has been found in numerous medical studies to initiate sleep and decrease awakening). Valerian root and Skullcap has been also used as a sleep inducer. It will help you get to sleep faster, improve your nighttime sleep and help to get a better night’s sleep.
Garlic contains a chemical called ‘allicin’ that is a powerful broad spectrum antibiotic. It helps suppress infections from viruses and candida and protects the cells through its powerful antioxidant effects.
Echinacea is a powerful immune stimulant herb. It helps fight infections by promoting interferon production, and the production of neutrophils (the cells that kill bacteria).
Goldenseal – is also an excellent immune stimulant, which contains a high level of chemical called ‘berberine’. This chemical activates macrophages (cells that destroy bacteria, fungi (candida), and viruses). When combined with Garlic and Echinacea, becomes an effective tool for suppressing infections. Use it every time you suspect you’re getting sick.
Take St. John’s wort every day to prevent viruses from entering your body and causing you more fatigue. St. John’s wort is famous for its strong anti-viral properties.
Use these methods with your doctor in order to get the maximum effects and less harm. And hope you will find the information useful.