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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Introduction

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition of prolonged and severe lethargy or weariness that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions. Numerous, variable symptoms accompany the disease, which most often occurs in females. Most researchers accept that there are a wide group of viruses are involved. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpes simplex viruses (genital and oral), and cytomegalovirus (CMV) are clearly implicated. Candida albicans yeast and parasite infestations are also highly suspect. CFS association with hypoglycemia is well-known. Incredibly, new research shows that the polio virus, long considered conquered, may be resurfacing 20 to 30 years after childhood vaccinations against it, as Post-Polio Syndrome, now seen as Chronic Fatigue. Environmental contaminants contribute by lowering immune response and allowing CFS a path to develop through exhausted adrenal glands. CFS is a response (or lack of immune response) to the ever-increasing mental, emotional and physical stressors in our environment and often develops abruptly.

Natural healers and therapists have been working with fatigue syndromes since the early eighties. These illnesses represent a degenerative imbalance in the endocrine/metabolic systems of the entire body, and are therefore quite difficult to diagnose and treat. The number of people suffering from medically incurable viral conditions is increasing at an alarming rate. No conventional medical treatment or drug on the market today can help fatigue syndromes; most hinder immune response and recovery.

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What to Recognize With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. CFS develops from opportunistic retro-viruses that attack a weakened immune system. But it is maintained through other agents: a history of mononucleosis and/or yeast related problems, food allergies are either a related cause or a result; emotional stress; environmental pollutants that cause chemical sensitivities; smoking; widespread use of antibiotic or corticosteroid drugs; a low nutrition diet; or low levels of cortisol (an immune-stimulating hormone that is secreted in response to stress).
  2. Chronic fatigue syndromes act like recurring systemic viral infections, viruses that often go undetected because their symptoms mimic simple illnesses like colds, flu, or acute, but less debilitating, mononucleosis. Following the acute stages these retro-viruses penetrate the nuclei of immune system T-cells where they are able to survive and replicate indefinitely. Multiplication of the virus and recurring symptoms appear with a rupturing of the organism and its release into the bloodstream. This can occur at any time, but almost always arises when a person is under stress or has reduced immune response due to a simpler illness such as a cold or cough.
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Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be difficult since each person experiences unique symptoms. Specifically, two areas of criteria must be met for diagnosis of CFS.

  1. Unexplained, persistent fatigue that's not due to ongoing exertion, isn't substantially relieved by rest, is of new onset (not lifelong) and results in a significant reduction in previous levels of activity.
  2. Four or more of the following symptoms are present for six months or more:

  • Impaired memory or concentration
  • Postexertional malaise (extreme, prolonged exhaustion and sickness following physical or mental activity)
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Muscle pain
  • Multijoint pain without swelling or redness
  • Headaches of a new type or severity
  • Sore throat that's frequent or recurring
  • Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes

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Natural Treatment

Nutritional therapy can stop the vicious cycle of CFS and prevent it from starting up again. First, it is vital to determine the individual root cause of the CFS (nutrition counseling online or in person). Because CFS is an immunological condition, immune system testing and nutrition support are essential to condition management. Due to immune system impairment, many individuals with CFS also suffer from food and chemical sensitivities; these environmental factors tend to aggravate symptoms, especially gastrointestinal symptoms. A series of tests may be very helpful in further evaluation of CFS symptoms and culprits to include adrenal gland testing to measure cortisol levels, digestive stool analysis to evaluate candida yeast and food allergy testing to eliminate food-related inflammatory culprits. CFS sufferers are also likely to have a history of insomnia or impaired sleep. In many cases, chronic sleep loss will set the stage for an impaired immune system that is susceptible to viruses and foreign invaders. Supporting a health sleep cycle is an integral part to supporting the immune system and can be done through a combination of nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle management. Due to the stress incurred up on the body, blood sugar support is also necessary via dietary management. Antioxidants, herbs, and amino acid supplementation are extremely advantageous as well in treating the underlying cause of CFS as well as managing symptoms.

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References

Chronic fatigue syndrome. Center for Disease Control. 2006. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/cfsbasicfacts.htm. Accessed on October 21, 2009.

Page L. Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Eleventh Edition. Traditional Wisdom, Inc; 2000.

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