Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that is not caused by other medical conditions. When a person suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, their fatigue can worsen with physical or mental activity but does not improve with rest. Unfortunately, the cause of chronic fatigue is unknown, however, some experts believe chronic fatigue may be a viral infection or immune system disorder. Meanwhile, there are others who believe it is related to psychological stress, trauma or toxins. In order for a person to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, there have to be three criteria present. They include:
- The individual must have symptoms ongoing for at least six months
- Other health conditions as the reason for the fatigue must have been excluded
- The fatigue must significantly interfere with daily activities and work
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
While there is not one known cause for chronic fatigue syndrome, there are conditions that are believed to cause it and there may even be a combination of factors that can make chronic fatigue present. Some of the various factors include:
- Hormonal imbalances – Abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands can be found in those who experience chronic fatigue. However, the significance of hormonal imbalances in relation to chronic fatigue is unknown.
- Viral infections – Due to the fact that some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, many believe that some viruses may trigger it. Viruses that are thought to possibly trigger chronic fatigue include Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia viruses.
- Immune system issues – Those who suffer from chronic fatigue tend to have a slightly impaired immune system. However, it is unknown if the impairment is enough to cause chronic fatigue itself.
Diagnosing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Due to the fact that there is not one known cause for chronic fatigue, there is also not one test to confirm a person has chronic fatigue syndrome. Since chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms can be similar to several other health problems, it may take a long time to confirm a diagnosis. In order to diagnose an individual with chronic fatigue syndrome, the doctor must rule out several other illnesses. These other illnesses may include:
- Mental health issues – Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are all mental health problems that also have similar symptoms as chronic fatigue.
- Sleep disorders – This may seem obvious, but sleep disorders have symptoms a person may also experience with chronic fatigue. A sleep study can figure out if you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome or insomnia.
- Medical problems – Fatigue is also a symptom of other medical problems such as anemia, diabetes, and hypothyroidism. By taking a lab test to check your blood, evidence can be found for other medical problems.
After a doctor can rule out other criteria, they can more accurately diagnose for chronic fatigue syndrome. Individuals should be aware that the diagnoses process may take some time. Diagnosing the correct problem is an important step. If the wrong diagnosis is made, the wrong treatment will be given. It is important for the patient to stay patient during the diagnosis process.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Treatment
There are a variety of therapies that may be able to help chronic fatigue syndrome that uses functional medicine in order to help find the root cause of chronic fatigue and create a plan to reduce or eliminate it. These therapies include:
- Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy – a therapy that can help improve hormone imbalances for both men and women. Hormone imbalances can occur when women age and go through menopause and when men age and experience a falling in hormone levels. Hormone imbalances can affect your energy levels and once they are brought back to a normal range, improvement can be seen.
- IV therapy and vitamin infusions – Intravenous (IV) therapy is a method of feeding vitamins, minerals, and other natural substances directly into the patient’s bloodstream, which bypasses the digestive system. Doing so may boost the immune system, supplement deficiencies and can provide an immediate therapeutic response. There are a number of vitamin and nutrient IV therapies one can use to help improve their health.
- Chelation therapy – A therapy that uses medicines that remove both toxic and non-toxic metals from the body. Toxic metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium are known to interfere with many biological functions within the body. A chelating agent, such as EDTA or DMSA binds to these metals in the bloodstream and guides them out of the body. Getting these toxic metals out of the body can improve all sorts of diseases and problems.
- Phospholipid exchange therapy – Chemicals from preservatives in foods, pesticides and some prescription drugs may stay in the phospholipid layers of cells, which cause increased levels of toxicity and cellular degeneration. This can cause dysfunction in the brain, nervous system and immune system, all of which could be connected to chronic fatigue. Phospholipid Exchange Therapy gets rid of these toxins to eliminate or reduce certain disorders.
- Ultraviolet blood irradiation – A therapy that uses ultraviolet light in combination with the patient’s blood to kill pathogens and bacteria. The blood gets charged with more energy from the light and increases the blood’s oxygen level, which has an antimicrobial affect and increases white blood cell activity. UBI can improve overall immune function and can help with chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is debilitating and frustrating for those who suffer from it. The symptoms a person can experience with chronic fatigue can also be experiences with a variety of other medical conditions, which is why it is so important to correctly diagnose what the condition is so the correct problem can be treated. While the diagnoses can be difficult and time-consuming, there are holistic treatments that can be done to treat the problem. Unlike conventional medicine, holistic treatments will help you and your doctor find the root cause of the problem and create a plan to improve the condition and prevent future issues.
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