Every once in a while, we all go through tired spells. You know, those times when anywhere else but your bed seems like an exhausting, hellish wasteland? To be honest, that’s MOST people’s Monday mornings!
That said, there is a very big difference between feeling sleepy because you lived it up a little too much on the weekend and feeling sleepy because…well…for no apparent reason at all, sometimes for months or even years on end.
The latter can be connected to a range of illnesses both physical and mental, but the one we are going to discuss with you today is chronic fatigue syndrome. It’s a powerful, much-misunderstood malady that can turn the lives of sufferers upside-down.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chronic fatigue syndrome is a “complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition.” You might also hear the syndrome referred to as “systemic exertion intolerance disease” (SEIS) and/or “myalgic encephalomyelitis” (ME/CFS).
Unfortunately, the medical community still hasn’t gotten a handle on what causes the syndrome. Some believe that it can be triggered by viral infections, while others feel that the culprit is intense psychological distress. Others believe that it might simply be a combination of physical and mental stressors that when mingled promote severe, prolonged fatigue and exhaustion. These could include immune system problems and severe hormonal imbalances.
Though chronic fatigue syndrome can develop in anyone at any age, the most affected demographic is women. They are diagnosed far more often than men. Patients are generally in their 40s and 50s, and many complain of life-altering side effects, such as depression, social isolation, lifestyle constrictions, and, perhaps predictably, work absences.
Even so, it’s important to note this isn’t just a “women’s disease.” Doctors feel that chronic fatigue syndrome might affect men just as widely, but because it is still such a mysterious illness, men might be either given wrong diagnoses or just might not be reporting the symptoms as often as women. Sad, but potentially true!
The 7 common symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers
Chronic fatigue syndrome can rear its ugly head in a number of different ways, but sufferers are most likely to report these 7 symptoms first:
- Constant fatigue and/or extreme exhaustion after mental/physical exercise
- Loss of memory or concentration
- Sore throat
- Unexplained joint or muscle pain
- Waking up unrefreshed after a full night’s sleep
- Swollen lymph nodes
It goes without saying that if you have been suffering from any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, it’s important that you see your doctor immediately. The signs match up to a variety of illnesses aside from chronic fatigue syndrome, some of which are very dangerous. Put your health first and always keep your trusted medical team in the loop!
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these chronic fatigue symptoms. Do you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome? If so, what was your diagnosis process like? Have you experienced any of these symptoms before?