Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Do you feel tired all the time? Does it seem like your fatigue remains no matter how much sleep you get? If so, you might be wondering, “Do I have chronic fatigue syndrome?” It is important to understand that there is a difference between having symptoms of chronic fatigue (namely being tired all the time) and having the illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome.
Is My Fatigue Chronic?
The majority of people who feel tired all the time do not have chronic fatigue syndrome. Fatigue is a common symptom of a variety of disorders, including anemia, anxiety and depression, thyroid disorders, heart disease, COPD, and inflammatory bowel disease. Fatigue can also be caused by lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, high stress, and too little sleep. That is why your doctor will consider your full range of symptoms to determine whether your fatigue is caused by an underlying disorder or is the result of chronic fatigue syndrome.
What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (or ME/CFS), chronic fatigue syndrome is much more than just feeling tired. It is profound fatigue that lasts for more than six months and is exacerbated by even mild exertion, but not relieved by rest. It is also typically accompanied by flu-like symptoms and cognitive dysfunction (“brain fog”). People with chronic fatigue syndrome may also experience:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive sleepiness or sleep disturbances
- Inability to exercise
- Joint or muscle pain
- Muscle weakness
- Sensitivity to pain
- Sore throat
What Causes Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
It is unclear what, exactly, causes chronic fatigue syndrome. People with the disorder appear to be hypersensitive to even normal amounts of exercise and activity, but why this occurs in some people and not others is unknown. Some people may be born with a predisposition for the disorder, which is then triggered by a physical or environmental factor. These factors could include excessive stress, viral infections, weakened immune system, and hormonal imbalances. Other factors can increase your risk of developing chronic fatigue syndrome, including:
Age – While chronic fatigue syndrome can occur at any age, it is most common in people in their 40’s and 50’s.
Stress – Excessive stress or difficulty managing stress can contribute to the development of chronic fatigue syndrome
Sex – Women are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome more than men
How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Diagnosed?
There is currently no test to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome. Your doctor will discuss all your symptoms and perform a variety of diagnostic tests to rule out other possible conditions, such as mononucleosis, sleep disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
You should always see your doctor if you have persistent or excessive fatigue to determine if it is being caused by an underlying disorder or if it is chronic fatigue syndrome. As a functional medicine doctor, Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM focuses on understanding, preventing, and treating the root cause of complex, chronic disease. Board Certified in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can uncover the cause of your fatigue and develop an individualized treatment plan to restore you to optimal health.
If you are experiencing extreme fatigue and need help finding relief, call us today to schedule an appointment: (832) 246-8437.