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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Kristina Morgan
ITT Technical Institute
Ms. Gesicki
October 11, 2015

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can't be explained by any underlying medical condition. The fatigue may worsen with physical or mental activity, but doesn't improve with rest.
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, although there are many theories — ranging from viral infections to psychological stress. Some experts believe chronic fatigue syndrome might be triggered by a combination of factors. There are eight official signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue disorder, including the official symptom that give this disorder its name. Symptoms include: extreme fatigue, loss of memory and difficulties with concentration, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes, unexplained muscle pain, joint pain that seems to move from joint to joint without any swelling or redness, headaches, inability to be refreshed by sleep and extreme exhaustion after periods of physical exertion lasting more than 24 hours. Fatigue can be a symptom of many illnesses, such as infections or psychological disorders. Scientists don't know exactly what causes chronic fatigue syndrome. It may be a combination of factors that affect people who were born with a predisposition for the disorder. Some of the factors that have been studied include: * Viral infections. Because some people develop chronic fatigue syndrome after having a viral infection, researchers question whether some viruses might trigger the disorder. Suspicious viruses include Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6 and mouse leukemia viruses. No conclusive link has yet been found. * Immune system problems. The immune systems of people who have chronic fatigue syndrome appear to be impaired slightly, but it's unclear if this impairment is enough to actually cause the disorder. * Hormonal imbalances. People who have chronic fatigue syndrome also sometimes experience abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, pituitary glands or adrenal glands. But the significance of these abnormalities is still unknown.
Anyone of any age group can develop Chronic fatigue syndrome, but it mainly affects people in their 40’s and 50’s. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome than men. Stress is also a contributing factor to persons being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. Scientist have yet to find a definitive cause for chronic fatigue syndrome. Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include: * Depression * Social isolation * Lifestyle restrictions * Increased work absences
Severity of symptoms
The severity of CFS/ME can roughly be divided into three levels:
Mild cases - you can care for yourself and can do light domestic tasks, but with difficulty. You are still likely to be able to do a job, but may often take days off work. In order to remain in work, you are likely to have stopped most leisure and social activities. Weekends or other days off from work are used to rest in order to cope.
Moderate cases - you have reduced mobility and are restricted in most activities of daily living. The level of ability and severity of symptoms often varies from time to time (peaks and troughs). You are likely to have stopped work and require rest periods. Sleep at night tends to be poor and disturbed.
Severe cases - you are able to carry out only minimal daily tasks such as face washing and cleaning teeth. You are likely to have severe difficulties with some mental processes such as concentrating. You may be wheelchair-dependent for mobility and may be unable to leave your home except on rare occasions, and usually have severe prolonged after-effects from effort. You may spend most of your time in bed. You are often unable to tolerate any noise, and are generally very sensitive to bright light.
Note: most cases are mild or moderate.

References
1.Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME), Post Viral Fatigue | Patient. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://patient.info/health/chronic-fatigue-syndromeme

2. Chronic fatigue syndrome. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-fatigue-syndrome/basics/complications/con-20022009

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