Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) also known as Myalgia Encephalitis (ME) is a type of chronic arthritis disease. CFS is classically characterized by generalized body fatigue that persists for more than 6 months. It is not a simple form of arthritis disease. This complexity has made it receive overwhelming criticism over the years on if CFS is actually a disease. Challenges met by researchers of CFS are that they cannot generate a test that can produce results to confirm CFS can be and is a serious medical condition. Only recently has WHO decided to enlist CFS as a neurological disorder based on a scientific breakthrough.
Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has existed for decades without an etiological factor. Sufferers of CFS have been ridiculed, patronized and dismissed. They’ve gone through phases of informal, unplanned talk therapy where they were convinced that CFS was a result of what they think. If they can think they don’t have CFS, then the symptoms would spontaneously resolve. Therefore, for the longest time, the cause of CFS was thought to be psychological.
However, recently there’s been a breakthrough in ongoing scientific studies. A mutation in the gene TRPM3 that controls the movement of calcium in and out of cells is thought to be the underlying pathology of arthritis in CFS.
Others factors attributed to CFS include:
- A preceding infectious disease i.e. viral or bacterial
- Hormonal imbalance e.g. thyroid disease
- Psychosocial disorders e.g. Depressive disorders
Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Unlike many types of arthritis, this is probably one of the hardest to characterize symptomatically. Since calcium is present in all cells of the body, CFS can affect any or all systems in the body.
A person may complain of:
- Feeling tired constantly despite rest
- Joint pain that is dull and nagging that can last up to 24hours
- Limited joint movement
- Generalized muscular pain
- Muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- Poor concentration
- Easy fatigability
- Inability to complete routine tasks e.g. brushing teeth, taking a shower etc.
- Change is regular bowel habits
Treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is managed symptomatically in the presence of physical symptoms. The degree of morbidity determines the approach of therapy. Dr. Burke, a specialist in orthopedics, is resourceful in handling CFS patients. He uses his fine skills in orthopedics to create a management plan including:
- Painkillers e.g. NSAIDs
- Physical therapy
- Graded exercise therapy