Understanding Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Today is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Awareness Day. The date for CFS was chosen to honour the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing who was bedridden with a painful and fatiguing illness

Published: 12th May 2015 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2015 06:01 AM   |  A+A-

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is a devastating and complex disorder,” says Dr Srirang Abkari, Consultant Internal Medicine, Aware Global Hospitals. People suffering from CFS are overwhelmingly fatigued. They are a host of other symptoms and cannot be improved by bed rest. “They can only get worse after physical activity or mental exertion. They often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before they became ill,” adds the doctor.

Detecting chronic fatigue syndrome

Syndrome.JPGWhen an individual suffers from severe chronic fatigue they show symptoms like staying unrefreshed despite sleeping, muscle pains, headaches that come in a pattern, among many others. It significantly interferes with daily activities and work. These symptoms should have persisted or recurred during six or more consecutive months of illness, and they cannot have first appeared before the fatigue.

Other symptoms include,  significant impairment of short-term memory or concentration, pain in the joints without swelling or redness, tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit or a sore throat that is frequent or recurring


While a single cause for CFS is yet to be identified, research proves that CFS has multiple triggers that include: 

■ infections

■ immune dysfunction

■ abnormally low blood pressure that can cause fainting (neurally mediated hypotension)

■ nutritional deficiency

■ stress that activates the axis where the hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands interact (the HPA axis)


Because there is no blood test, brain scan, or other lab test to diagnose CFS, it is a diagnosis that can only be made after ruling out other possible illnesses. A doctor will first take a detailed patient history and then will conduct a thorough physical and mental health exam. Next, a series of laboratory screening tests will be ordered to help identify other possible causes of symptoms


Managing chronic fatigue syndrome is as complex as the illness itself. There is no cure, no prescription drugs have been developed specifically for CFS, and symptoms can vary a lot over time. There are many over-the-counter and prescription medicines that can be used to treat sleep difficulties, cognitive problems, pain, and other symptoms of CFS.Vitamins and other nutritional and herbal supplements are frequently used by people with CFS. many CFS patients report symptom relief with use.

Backbone of healthcare system

Syndrome1.JPGMay 12 is also observed as International Nurses Day -- the backbone of health care system who deserve to be thanked and supported It is a day when the world applauds the nursing fraternity for their services. They are the ones who assist the physician, keep accurate records and administer medication.. International Council of Health Care believes that it is important to understand the bigger picture of labour market: the gap between the supply and demand of health workers. Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient care, training, and scope of practice.  Meera Augustine, superintendent of nurses at Yashoda Hospital,Secunderabad says, “Nurse being more in contact with the patient than any other member of the hospital staff, should be able to create a bond between patients than any other medical fraternity in order to facilitate recovery. Her gamut of activities should involve knowledge and sensitivity to what matters and what is important to patients. Even though they are highly qualified our society is does not accept them in health care.”

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