Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Signs and symptoms
The onset of CFS is often marked by a traumatic event, or a bout with an illness. Many researchers believe that these triggers work to compromise the immune system, and enable pathogens to invade a person’s cells. While the exact cause of CFS is unknown, some experts believe the disease is simply the body’s response, a kind of sum total, to ongoing emotional and physical stress.
While CFS appears to be more common in women than in men, it may be that women are simply more willing to discuss fatigue with their doctors more often than men are. Though the exact number of people with CFS is not known, the syndrome affects people of all ages, racial/ethnic backgrounds, and economic status. CFS is believed to afflict approximately half a million Americans.
Signs and symptoms vary; they sometimes come and go, or they may be more persistent. Flu-like symptoms are common in the beginning – as well as extreme fatigue and weakness – and they range from a constant cough to depression.
Other symptoms include:
- Feeling discomfort or listlessness for more than 24 hours after being active
- Feeling tired even after sleeping
- Forgetting things, or having a hard time focusing
- Headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
- Muscle pain or aches
- Pain or aches in joints without swelling or redness
- Severe chronic fatigue for more than six months, unrelated to any other known medical conditions
- Sore throat
- Tender lymph nodes in the neck or under the arm
CFS symptoms seem to improve when sufferers deal with issues such as nutrition, hormonal balance, adrenal function, detoxification, eliminating environmental toxins (aided by detoxification), food allergies, emotional stress, and gastrointestinal (GI) function.
Sixty percent of your immune system is located in your intestine, so when leaky gut issues such as Crohn’s and colitis, as well as constipation, diarrhea, disordered immune function, and intestinal dysfunction are taken care of, CFS symptoms lessen in their severity.