ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Nasty Infectious Diseases You Want To Avoid - Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Updated on November 30, 2008

 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a group of symptoms including fatigue, weakness, poor concentration and memory, once derisively dismissed as a new "yuppie flu." Contrary to popular notions, however, the disease is not new; clinical reports of the condition have appeared for more than 100 years. The modern stereotype of "yuppie flu" began because those who sought help in the early 1980s were primarily affluent, well-educated women in their 30s and 40s. Since then, however, physicians have realized the disease strikes those of all ages, races, and social classes in countries around the world, although it is still diagnosed two to four times more often in women than in men.

In the 1860s, it was called "neurasthenia," and considered to be a neurosis characterized by weakness and fatigue. In the 1960s it was called "Icelander's disease." Since then, physicians have blamed the symptoms variously on "iron-poor blood" (anemia), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), allergies, or a body-wide yeast infection (candidiasis). In the mid-1980s, the disease was believed to be caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, after scientists found signs of the EBV antibodies in affected patients. Since then, scientists realized that the EBV is so common, it is actually found in the blood of many healthy Americans, while some people with no EBV antibodies have the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

The degree to which patients are disabled varies widely. Some can still function at home and work, but others become severely disabled and can't perform many of the routine activities of daily living. The total number of affected people in the United States is unknown. In other countries, CFS is known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, post-viral fatigue syndrome, chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome.

Cause - No one knows the cause of CFS, and no virus or antibody has been identified. This has made it more difficult to determine how many people actually have the illness. Based on the first three years of an ongoing surveillance study in four U.S. cities, the Centers for Disease Control estimates the minimum rate of CFS in the United States to be 4 to 10 cases per 100,000 adults. Recent research at Johns Hopkins suggests that at least some CFS sufferers may in fact have a condition in which inadequate upperbody blood pressure causes fainting spells. For these patients, treatment with drugs and high-sodium diets to raise blood pressure resolved the CFS symptoms. In one of the most recent studies, 16 of 23 people with CFS were found to also have this low-blood-pressure problem. After treatment with salt supplementation and drugs, nine patients were completely recovered and seven others had marked improvement in symptoms. This plus many other remedies have been tried. Scientists have also studied a range of other possible causes, including Epstein-Barr and other herpes infections, the yeast organism candida albicans, and immune system or hormone regulation problems. Many of these problems are found among CFS patients, but scientists have not yet been able to establish any of them as the source of CFS.

Symptoms - To be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, a patient must have an unexplained persistent fatigue that is not caused by exertion or alleviated by rest; it must severely curtail activities. In addition, the patient must have any four of the following symptoms for at least six months that were not present before the fatigue: impaired memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes in neck or under arms; muscle pain; multi-joint pain; new headache; sleep that isn't refreshing; and malaise following exercise. Many of these symptoms mimic the flu, but the flu goes away while CFS symptoms persist or recur frequently for more than six months. Many people first notice symptoms after an acute infection (cold, bronchitis, hepatitis, mononucleosis, or intestinal flu). The course of the disease varies from one patient to the next. For most, the disease hits a plateau early on and ebbs and flows thereafter. Some get better, but are not completely well. Others spontaneously recover.

Treatment - Although no specific treatment has been identified for CFS, there have been anecdotal reports of success with small numbers of patients using a range of treatment, including antiviral drugs, antidepressants, or drugs that boost the immune system. Many physicians prescribe tricyclic antidepressants, since these drugs help people with fibromyalgia (a disease much like CFS). Some patients improve with benzodiazepines (a class of drug used to treat anxiety and sleep problems).

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Lady LaShonda profile image

      Lady LaShonda 

      9 years ago from Atlantic City, New Jersey

      Great Information. I needed this one. I just thought i was tired all the time. This is something to take to my physician about.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)