Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Signs, Causes, Prevention & Management Tips
Read on as we discuss the signs, prevention tips and management tips for CFS.
Signs of CFS include debilitating fatigue, impaired memory and concentration
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a complex disorder characterised by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest and lasts for at least six months. The exact cause of CFS is unknown, but it is believed to involve a combination of factors such as viral infections, immune system problems, hormonal imbalances, and psychological stress. Below we discuss the signs, prevention tips and management tips for CFS.
Signs and symptoms of CFS include debilitating fatigue, impaired memory and concentration (brain fog), poor sleep, muscle and joint pain, headaches, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes. These symptoms can vary in severity and may worsen after physical or mental exertion (post-exertional malaise).
Prevention for CFS is limited since the exact cause is unknown. However, some general practices that may help include maintaining a balanced lifestyle, managing stress levels, getting enough restorative sleep, and avoiding overexertion. It is also important to consult with healthcare professionals for proper diagnosis and guidance on managing symptoms.
Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help improve symptoms and enhance overall well-being.
Here are some detailed tips for managing CFS:
1. Pace yourself
CFS symptoms tend to worsen with overexertion. It's crucial to establish a balanced routine and avoid pushing yourself beyond your limits. Break tasks into smaller, manageable segments, and listen to your body's cues to rest or take breaks when needed.
2. Prioritise sleep
Quality sleep is essential for managing CFS. Establish a consistent sleep schedule, practice good sleep hygiene (avoiding screens before bed, creating a relaxing environment), and consider relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises to improve sleep quality.
3. Manage stress
Stress can exacerbate CFS symptoms. Incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness, yoga, or engaging in hobbies that promote relaxation. It may also be helpful to identify and address sources of stress in your life.
4. Balanced diet
Eating a well-balanced diet can support overall health and energy levels. Focus on whole, nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Consider working with a nutritionist or dietitian to tailor a diet plan that suits your specific needs.
5. Stay hydrated
Dehydration can worsen fatigue and other symptoms. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain proper hydration levels. Limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can disrupt sleep and contribute to dehydration.
6. Gentle exercise
While excessive exercise can worsen symptoms, gentle, low-impact exercise can be beneficial. Consult with a healthcare professional to develop an exercise plan tailored to your abilities, such as walking, swimming, or stretching. Start slowly and gradually increase intensity as tolerated.
7. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT can help manage the psychological impact of CFS, such as depression, anxiety, and coping with limitations. It focuses on changing negative thought patterns, developing coping skills, and setting realistic goals. Consider working with a therapist experienced in CBT techniques.
It's essential to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalised management plan that addresses your specific needs and goals. A healthcare professional might prescribed medication if needed.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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