Overview of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

It is normal for a person to experience fatigue. Typically, normal fatigue lasts a short time, and then goes away with enough rest. And of course, it usually occurs after performing a heavy task. However, if fatigue occurs and persists without any apparent reason, it may not be a normal phenomenon any more.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID), refers to a debilitating condition that causes excessive and persistent tiredness, and the cause is usually difficult to nail down. In some cases, this level of tiredness is so severe that it deprives the patient of his or her ability to live normally. Although some CFS patients may lead a relatively normal life, their ability to work, learn, or attend to their families is reduced to a larger extent.

CFS mostly attacks women in their 40s and 50s. However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that other people cannot develop this condition. As a matter of fact, CFS can attack any person, irrespective of age or gender.

If you are suffering from CFS, you may experience all, or some of the following symptoms:

  • Excessive mental or physical fatigue that does not go away no matter how much you rest
  • Prolonged post-exercise body weakness
  • Frequent headaches
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes in the armpits or neck
  • Difficulty concentrating or poor memory
  • Sore throat
  • Sensitivity to foods, chemicals, noise, or odors

Persons suffering from CFS typically tend to be hypersensitive to even less intensive activities or exercises. Since there is no cure for CFS, treating this condition involves lessening the severity of its symptoms. When the symptoms appear, it is advisable to seek medical attention without delay. Delayed treatment may cause the condition to worsen, leading to certain complications, including depression, social isolation, and lifestyle restrictions.