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Related Conditions

CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME

Signs And Symptoms
Symptoms
Treatment
Research
Visitor Comments
Fatigue Links


The causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome are unknown and it is not diagnosed until all other factors have been excluded.

Signs and Symptoms:

Fatigue must be a present symptom when a diagnosis for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is being made. The fatigue must have been present for at least 6 months and must be either severe or lasting. The fatigue that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have should not have been present all of their life, so the patient should be able to pinpoint a starting period for the fatigue. This fatigue is debilitating and may force people suffering it to have to reduce activity or work loads, as it is not relieved by rest.

Symptoms:

        • impaired memory or concentration
        • sore throat
        • tender lymph nodes, or "glands", in the armpit or neck
        • muscle pain
        • joint pain affecting multiple joints
        • new headaches, meaning the headache did not occur before the person started to have severe fatigue
        • unrefreshing sleep
        • feeling bad or having discomfort after any type of exertion

The fact that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome causes the lack of ability to do things the patient is normally capable of ie: work, relationships, hobbies and going out, means that sufferers can also suffer from depression as a result.

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Treatments:

Behaviour Therapy:

      • moderate exercise, being careful to avoid overexertion, which can make symptoms worse
      • eating a balanced diet and avoiding caffeine and alcohol
      • relaxation methods, such as meditation and hypnosis
      • attending support group meetings or receiving regular, individual counselling

Drug Therapy:

      • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
      • antidepressants

Side Effects Of Medications:

          • stomach upset
          • alergic reactions
          • sleeping problems
          • headaches

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Research

There is also a Health Translations Online Directory that enables you, health practitioners, and those working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to easily find reliable translated health information.

The Directory provides web links to online multilingual resources across the health sector including government departments, peak health bodies, hospitals, community health centres and welfare agencies.

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The factual information on this page was compiled from:
Health Answers (http://www.healthanswers.com)


COMMENTS
by people who have had experience with Chronic Fatigue.

Please send us your comments and experiences with Chronic Fatigue to share with others.

I have been taking Moodlift for three weeks now. I have found a real imrovement in my sleeping, pain and fatigue related to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndromes. I brought the moodlift at http://www.vitaminking.com.au/ at a price of 79.95 for 60 tablets which is the cheapest on the internet.

(KJM)
(06/07/2005)

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In April,1996, I suffered a major stroke , which left me in a coma for 6 weeks. My parents would come into hospital every day, and passively exercise my affected limbs, knowing the muscle wastage that would occur from inaction for such a prolonged period of time. Regardless of their wonderful endeavours, I was left semi paralysed down my right side My first comment when I woke up was "I'm tired." Which feeling continued on for the rest of my stay in hospital and in the rehab hospital. I would struggle through 2 hours of physio in the morning, then spend the rest of the day, unless I had some other useless therapy scheduled, lying down, and probably sleeping, in my room. This terrible tiredness was unremitting, and I begged for a reason, more like hope that it would go away. I was told that it was because of the stroke (well Duh), the favourite reason being that I had to think consciously about movements that once happened automatically - like walking.

No solution, or relief was ever offered for the tiredness, so I left rehab no better off.

Not surprisingly, the tiredness did not improve, which meant that everything I did was not enjoyable, especially when coupled with the fact that I could not walk easily, nor do anything that required the use of a fully functioning right hand. I was told so many times that the reason I was tired was either because I was depressed (I wonder why), and because "You know you haven't done anything for five years" (The usual if you got off your bum and 'did' something comment).I spent thousands of dollars trying to get a cure, so that I could get my life back together again.

I have been depressed the whole time since my stroke, not surprisingly, because I can't 'do' anything, and sitting around the house doing nothing stimulating does not exactly engender good cheer.

I joined an on-line CFS support group, which lead me to a CFS doctor, who confirmed that I had neurologically instigated CFS, thus vindicating my tiredness and lethargy for so many years. But, since CFS is not curable, and really not manageable, depression has become my constant companion, especially when I compare myself, and my unfulfilling life with what I once was and had.

I push on, refusing to continually stay in bed, which there are many days when I would like to, because I want to recover, and if I drop out of life for months or years, then I will never be able to return again. People get used to you not being around, and they don't want you back making a nuisance of yourself, trying to fit yourself back into the life that you once had with them, they have got over your loss, and don't need you messing up the life that they have reinvented without you in it.

I do not see my future with any hope, only misery, and dependence on paid helpers until my money runs out, well, then, I might be able to get a pension, which I haven't done since the stroke, since I own a home unit which I rent out, having to live on the rental proceeds since the government doesn't concede that because I cannot work, I should get a disability pension.

The worst outcome of this medical disaster is that I have cost my partner (though how long I will be able to call him this is questionable) his job, and caused him to become depressed, since he has no real companion to share his life, as he thought he had finally found in me.

(Maree)
(22/01/2003)

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I have twice experienced serious depression after quitting cigarettes. The nicotine withdrawal symptom of sleeplessness stayed with me for months, causing severe sleep deprivation. I could not sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time. This meant I was falling asleep at 9-10pm then waking at 1pm everynight, then unable to go back to sleep until 4-5am, when it was almost time to wake up. This caused me to become more and more fatigued,until I became tearful and over sensitive and depressed.

I believe the nicotine withdrawal caused my depression. I am currently exercising in attempts to get my body to sleep more at night. Also I am trying out some herbal sleep-eazy tablets to encourage my body to relax more. These contain valariun and other ingredients including magnesium to relax my muscles. I don't know yet if it is working. I'm also attending counselling to overcome my poor self esteem problems which are a result of the fatigue.

(Kerrie)
(Age: 42)
(29/03/2001)

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At the end of 1996 I was diagnosed with Ross River Virus and Glandular Fever. I had only been newly married for 3 months and now found myself bed-ridden for 4 months whilst trying to deal with a violent and abusive husband.

Moving from my bed was almost impossible. I had severe fevers, headaches, flu-like symptoms, post-nasal drip, bowel problems ranging from diarrhoea to constipation, muscle and joint spasms and pain, unable to keep still/restlessness/tossing and turning in bed due to aching muscles/joints (this was particularly painful as I did not have enough energy to turn over and it took every ounce of me to do so), lack of memory and unable to concentrate on anything longer than a sentence or two.

One of the most frightening things for me was when I often woke up in the middle of the night on my back paralysed from my waist down and unable to move. My husband had to carry me to the toilet, it was incredibly frightening, as I thought I would remain paralysed, but within a few hours it would disappear again each time, as quickly as it had appeared.

In April 1997, after exhaustive tests, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Depression, and was put onto anti-depressants.

Around June I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, when extreme pain accelerated.

Fibromyalgia is partly diagnosed by applying pressure to certain points of the body, most of which I would almost go through the roof in pain when touched.

I was super sensitive to any kind of touch, even gentle, and would be in severe pain if anyone even touched me lightly. I had dizzy spells and felt unbalanced when walking. Any kind of activity was short-lasting (eg. if I put the clothes in the washing machine, I would then have to lie down until they had finished their cycle. Then I would put it into the basket and take it to the clothes line, where I would drop the basket and go back to lie down. The washing would remain in the basket until my husband or son hung it out.)

I often had flashes in front of my eyes, after which a severe migraine would come on. Hyper-sensitivity to light, sounds (especially children, shopping centres, traffic and loud people) and smells. I often had ringing and pain in my ears or a blocked sensation which could last up to a few weeks. I had a sore throat constantly and most of the time the glands in my throat are up. Chemicals became a problem, I was unable to bleach my hair blonde any longer, chlorine affected me as did pesticides, perfumes and many other harsh smells/chemicals.

With my breakdown (and after leaving my ex-husband after suffering 10 months of a violent and abusive marriage) in mid 1997, I was bed-ridden once again for 6-8 months. I was still unable to function as I had before the end of 1996, and the rest of 1997 became a blur.

At this point I was unable to even care for my personal hygiene, but that was mainly due to my breakdown, and that is another story.

I am now going into my 4th year since being diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and as most of the symptoms have persevered, I have come to the point where I have learned to live with this illness, as well as the Fibromyalgia, depression, anxieties and phobias.

I was once a very active slim person, I used to lift weights and swim laps, as well as walk and jog miles every day. I took pride in my looks and fitness. Now that is just a memory. My hobbies of bush walking, camping, travelling, backpacking, hiking for miles, driving, pushbike riding, even simple tasks like crafts, all are just a memory.

Many people say to me to do some sort of activity, I try, believe me, but the after-affects are just not worth it. I might go fine with walking or doing some gentle exercise for a week or so, then I am bed-ridden for a week. Losing so many days like that IS JUST NOT WORTH IT to me.

I have found some degree of enjoyment in life in simple things like taking my dog to the beach and sitting under a tree while she runs around, or going for a gentle short walk.

I have tried many, many medications, therapies, well-meaning advice, herbals, and various concoctions over the years, but what I have found helps me the most is the following.

A sensible diet that includes lots of fresh fruit and veg, wholemeal or multigrains, muesli, milk products, pasta, rice, fish, chicken and anything that doesn't over-tax the digestive system. I have found that alcohol, chemical sweeteners and white bread are intolerable, a big NO-NO for me!! I take a multi vitamin & mineral tablet, an anti-inflammatory (specifically for rheumatoid arthritis, but helps with my joint pain) called "celebrex", cipramil anti-depressant (serotonin reuptake inhibitors apparently help a little with the CFS as well as depression), and weekly visits to physiotherapist which helps with muscle and joint problems as well as migraines and headaches.

I also gain relief from a heat cushion (for muscle and joint pain), linament oil and "goanna arthritis cream". I also have thrown out all my heeled shoes and now only wear shoes with low or no heels (an obvious one!!).

I try to get a good 9 hours sleep each night and rest during the day. I am able to do more than I was even a few months ago, but my energy levels are still greatly reduced, and I often have what I call "relapses" if I have sleep problems, extra stress etc.

I often find myself wishing I could have my old life back, when I was slim and active and pretty, when I didn't have to plan my life around sleep, rest times, taking medication and making lists so I don't forget anything. Sometimes I just wish for the old Caron back, but I know that will never be. Responsibility, working, consistency, activity, stamina, reliability...just a dim, enviable memory.

If I ever get to see any of these things again in the very near future, I will count myself a very lucky person!! I have been tested and poked and prodded and needles stuck into me, x-rays, CAT-scans and just about every kind of procedure known, to rule out the possibility of any other diseases/illnesses/conditions etc. I have these done about every 3 months. And yes, I HATE them, but I accept them as part of my life now.

Almost 2 years ago, I finally agreed to going onto a Disability Support Pension. Centrelink wanted to put me on one 18 months earlier as they stated I was unfit to work "in my condition", but at the time I refused because I was determined that I would make myself better.

Finally, with the help of my families Doctor (she has looked after my family for about 10-12 years now), as well as another Doctor, I began to see that I was not going to get well any time soon and it would be prudent of me to receive an entitlement. I had a lot of guilt over this initially, however I started to realise that I had been working since I was 17 and paying my taxes for 15 years before I got sick, so I gave myself permission to go onto a pension for awhile.

Unfortunately, CFS and Fibromyalgia are still widely not accepted as "real illnesses" by not only the general community, but by Doctors as well, which creates a certain amount of stigma and frustration for sufferers. But the good news is that research is creating a better profile for these illnesses as it becomes more widely known.

There are many things I dislike about being a CFS and Fibromyalgia sufferer, many things that frustrate, depress and annoy me, but one of the things I find intolerable is when I hear people who feel run down and tired saying "I think I must have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome"!! To me, its like a slap in the face, because they are belittling the debilitating affects that CFS has on a real sufferer. And yes, I have had friends say stupid things like that to me. I just look at them in stunned silence. If only they knew!!

(Caz)
(12/03/2001)

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