Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
In the 19th century, a doctor by the name of George Beard, M.D. coined the term neurasthenia, also known as nervous system exhaustion. The symptoms that accompanied neurasthenia were anxiety, exhaustion, depression and sexual dysfunction to name a few. Eventually the disorder caught on in the medical community and quickly droves of patients were being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, CFS or myalgic encephalomyelitis, ME.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. Persons with CFS most often function at a substantially lower level of activity than they were capable of before the onset of illness. In addition to these key defining characteristics, patients report various nonspecific symptoms, including weakness, muscle pain, impaired memory and/or mental concentration, insomnia, and post-exertion fatigue lasting more than 24 hours. In some cases, CFS can persist for years.
With push from the health profession to figure out the cause, active viral infections were first in mind due to the symptoms of these patients. Epstein Barr (EBV, cytomegalovirus (CMV)), and herpes simplex virus (HSV) were studied. Research reported that high titers of EBV, CMV and HSV were found in those patients that were symptomatic CFS. So finally we had a solid connection between the mysterious symptoms of CFS and a causative agent; until 2 studies by Buchwald et al. and Koelle et al. were published. They looked at 13 different viruses in symptomatic CFS patients and found that there was no relationship between the titers of antibodies to the viruses and the symptoms of patients. This means the association between the aforementioned viruses and CFS could not be definitively confirmed by viral infections alone.
Xenotropic murine leukemia virus or XMRV, has long be touted as a cause for CFS; but current research has dismissed this virus as a single causative agent much like the ones above.
Although no single one of these viruses are pathognomonic (disease causing) of CFS, it is still important to rule them out as these symptoms mimic those of CFS. The Doctors at Gateway Natural Medicine and Diagnostic Center see chronic fatigue differently. We use viral load tests to rule in or out viral infection.The Doctors may also order organic acid, stool analysis and other blood test to obtain a comprehensive look at nutritional needs, energy pathways and your gut environment.Often times the symptoms result from such illnesses as systemic candida infections, allergic responses to foods, and thyroid or other endocrine dysfunctions.
We will research some of the common causes of CFS:
- Nutritional deficiencies – protein malabsorption
- Yeast/fungal overgrowth
- Toxic body burden
- Bacterial endotoxins
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Gut microbiota
In order to receive a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome, a patient must satisfy two criteria:
Have severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis; and
Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertion malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
The symptoms must have persisted or recurred during six or more consecutive months of illness and must not have predated the fatigue.
With this said, there are many people who have been told or suggested to them that they have chronic fatigue that do not meet this criteria. When these systems present in a patient and they can not be explained by another disease or illness patients are told they have chronic fatigue. What is worse, they are told there is nothing that can be done but to medicate the symptoms.
If you have been diagnosed with CFS, don’t give up hope. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your condition with the doctors. The chances are very good that we can help your have more energy and less pain, so you can get back to leading a normal life.