Did you ever observe how your head felt so heavy after you’ve sneezed too many times? Or felt sudden loss of energy right after your allergic episode? This reason could be chronic fatigue.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a heterogenous medical condition that is characterised by extreme fatigue that subdues over 6 months, and causes sleep abnormalities, feverishness, depression, and other pains. Many patients also report other allergy symptoms associated with food or drug. Apart from initiation by allergies or infections, one of the root causes can be genetic predisposition.
Symptoms and Causes
In individuals with allergy problems, apart from general symptoms that accompany an allergy (sore throat, headaches), there are some hallmark symptoms with particular to CFS. These hallmark symptoms include fatigue, drowsiness, and mental sluggishness.
Cause of CFS is not conclusive. However, it is possible for some to be born with a predisposition for the disorder, which is then triggered by a combination of factors. Possible factors are listed below:
- Viral infections: Despite the heterogenicity of the disease, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is considered to be a potential cause of CFS. Other suspicious virus includes Human herpes virus, type 6. However, the conclusive link is not yet established and remains a mystery.
- Impaired immunity: Individuals with CFS are usually reported to have lower immunity. However, the science behind it is unclear.
- Hormonal issues: Individuals with CFS sometimes experience abnormal hormonal production in hypothalamus, pituitary gland or adrenal glands. However, impact of these imbalances is yet to be known.
- Trauma-induced: In some cases, it is observed that CFS symptoms appeared in individuals who have experienced any sort of physical (injury, surgery) or emotional trauma.
- Anyone can be affected by CFS, and at any age, commonly occurring in teenagers (13-15 y/o); middle-aged adults (30-50 y/o).
- Women are more likely to suffer from CFS than men.
- The cause of CFS is still unknown. However, studies have reported that it may involve environmental and genetic factors.
Diagnosis and treatment
- There is no one particular way to diagnose or treat CFS.
- Individuals with CFS usually report sleep problems, medical problems (mainly digestive problems) and mental health issues. In actual, CFS symptoms appear to mimic other disorders. Therefore, closer observation of the symptoms can help in identifying CSF.
CFS does share symptoms with other autoimmune diseases. Both autoimmune diseases and CSF are common in women and is characterised by inflammation (redness or swelling).
Yes, certain diets like Mediterranean diet can help in CSF treatment. Eating several smaller meals throughout the day has proven to be effective.
CSF is not directly inherited and its occurrence in family is not predictable. However, some people are at a high risk of developing this disease with family history for the condition which can be triggered by a combination of factors.
There is no definite treatment for CSF. However, the symptoms can be treated and ease your distress with a combination of medications. Recent advances like genetic testing can help identify your genetic make-up and help with personalised medicine for your case.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20360510 Accessed on 25-03-2022
- Genetics of chronic fatigue syndrome. Me-encyclopedia.org. https://me-pedia.org/wiki/Genetics_of_chronic_fatigue_syndrome Accessed on 25-03-2022
- Allergy and the chronic fatigue syndrome. Jacionline.org. https://www.jacionline.org/article/0091-6749(88)90933-5/pdf Accessed on 25-03-2022
- Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/me-cfs/index.html Accessed on 25-03-2022
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. KidsHealth. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cfs.html Accessed on 25-03-2022