Persistent fatigue with no identifiable cause can be an expression of chronic fatigue syndrome. Fibromyalgia is also often accompanied by pain and tiredness.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue syndrome (CFS)
There is still no agreement among medical specialists and patient groups on how to precisely define this complaint complex and which specialist area it should be classified in. The WHO classifies the syndrome under the internationally used term benign myalgic encephalomyelitis in the category diseases of the nervous system. The causes of the depressing, extreme tiredness and other symptoms may be virus infections. After having overcome an infection, such as the Pfeiffer’s glandular fever, some sufferers feel tired and chipped for some time. Experts suspect that disorders in the immune system or imbalances in the hormone balance, even though mental stress, responsible for the fact that eventually develops a complex own disease that includes different physical changes.
Other triggers include traumatic experiences or injuries, such as the consequences of accidents or operations. A family predisposition probably also plays a role. It can be assumed that ultimately several factors come into play.
Additional stress and reoccurring infections can exacerbate an already existing fatigue syndrome. It also has negative consequences if the persons concerned either overburden or, on the contrary, move too little physically, if they also eat poorly and socially isolate because of their complaints. To make matters worse, other people on CFS sufferers often react with incomprehension.
Symptoms: The symptoms differ significantly from previous phases of physical and mental exhaustion. The extreme fatigue suddenly sets in unusually hard after strenuous or even normal activities. Breaks or sleep do not improve the condition. The symptoms can also develop creepingly and make even simple everyday activities increasingly difficult.
There are also concentration and memory problems, sleep disorders, depressive moods, fears. Also, characteristic are physical symptoms such as aching muscles and joints, but not swollen, muscle weakness, painful lymphadenopathy, sore throat, unusual headache, gastrointestinal disorders. The sufferers can sometimes tolerate certain foods or alcohol and are particularly sensitive to light and noise.
Diagnosis: Indications give the doctor the duration of the state of exhaustion of more than half a year, the effects on everyday life and the combination of physical and mental and emotional complaints. Past infections that the sufferer has undergone, or chronic infections are often instructive. The doctor will also exclude by appropriate examinations and tests other causes of illness, such as anemia, an organ disease, psychosomatic diseases or a mental illness.
Therapy: A chronic fatigue syndrome puts a lot of strain on those affected. Depending on how much they are affected in their everyday lives, individually tailored, interlocking treatment measures come into question. These are mainly behavioral procedures and state-adapted exercise therapies and, if necessary, analgesics and pain therapies. Also, antidepressants can sometimes be indicated.
Frequently, so-called “pacing” concepts are helpful, with which the patients learn to use existing energies well dosed, in between necessary rest periods and only gradually increase the performance. Overstraining can lead to relapses.
It is also important to avoid stress, to eat a balanced diet and to avoid alcohol and foods that are intolerable. In many cases, the symptoms completely disappear after some time, and those affected are once again able to actively shape their lives.
Fibromyalgia syndrome: fatigue as a typical symptom
Fatigue and yet sleep problems are among the hallmark symptoms of a fibromyalgia syndrome. In this multi-faceted clinical picture, there are physical complaints, especially different muscle and joint pains. This can lead to swelling of the hands, legs and face as well as stiff limbs in the morning. In addition to a variety of other physical ailments, fears and depressive moods can be partially resolved.