Chronic Fatigue Q & A
What is chronic fatigue?
Chronic fatigue, also called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis, is a complex disorder that causes extreme tiredness that doesn’t improve with sleep or relaxation. It often gets worse when you exert yourself physically or mentally, making it very difficult to be productive in numerous areas of life like work, school, or even your free time.
In order to get a CFS diagnosis, you must experience relentless fatigue for at least six months alongside a group of additional symptoms, which can include:
- Memory loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Enlarged lymph nodes in your armpits or neck
- Sore throat
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Extreme exhaustion after physical or mental exercise
If you experience ongoing fatigue, it could be due to CFS or one of many disorders and diseases with fatigue as a symptom. For this reason, it’s important to consult with an endocrinologist at Ally Endocrinology to get an accurate diagnosis.
What causes chronic fatigue?
The causes are unclear and still under investigation. However, there are several common factors that seem to trigger the condition in many patients. If you have CFS, it may be due in part to one or more of these triggers:
Viral infections often preface the onset of CFS. While experts haven’t found a conclusive link, some CFS patients develop their condition after getting infections from Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6, or mouse leukemia viruses.
If you have CFS, it’s likely that you’ve also experienced imbalances of hormones from your pituitary glands, adrenal glands, or hypothalamus.
Immune system complications
Many people with CFS also experience immune system dysfunction in some way. It’s unclear whether or not immune system complications are a trigger or cause.
Additional possible causes and triggers for chronic fatigue include poor stress management, anemia, iron deficiency, vitamin B or D deficiency, medications and supplements, sleep disorders, celiac disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.
How is chronic fatigue diagnosed?
While there’s currently no single test for chronic fatigue syndrome, the team at Ally Endocrinology performs a variety of tests to rule out other health complications with similar symptoms in order to diagnose you with CFS.
Testing to diagnose chronic fatigue includes tests for endocrine causes like thyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency, insulin resistance, and pituitary disorders.
How can I manage chronic fatigue?
Chronic fatigue syndrome does not have a cure. However, with the right management strategies, you can reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Successful chronic fatigue management can help you avoid or overcome complications like depression, social isolation, and excessive absences from work.
The team at Ally Endocrinology works with you to create an individualized management plan for CFS. It might include:
- Medications for pain or fibromyalgia
- Medications that regulate your blood pressure
- Low-intensity exercise
- Changes to your daily routine
Your provider also provides you with support in following your plan.
If you experience constant fatigue and find daily tasks like exercise and work to be nearly insurmountable, call your nearest office of Ally Endocrinology, or book an appointment online to find out more about chronic fatigue today.