Are You Always Tired ?
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Are you tired all the time—extremely exhausted and unable to carry on your normal daily tasks? If so, you could be suffering from a condition called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Symptoms of CFS can last for more than 6 months. They can also last for years. CFS is further aggravated by physical or mental activity or stress and taking adequate rest does not relieve symptoms. Chronic fatigue syndrome usually begins after or during a particularly stressful event.

However, in some cases, the condition can start after a viral attack or other illnesses. In some individuals, the problem can also appear gradually without an identifiable cause. Chronic fatigue syndrome affects women more often than men. However, gender is not a proven risk factor for this condition as the chances are that women are simply more likely than men, to report the condition to their doctor.

Symptoms of CFS

Common symptoms of CFS

Headaches Sore throat Tender or painful areas in your neck or armpits Unexplained muscle soreness Pain that moves from joint to joint without swelling or redness Loss of memory or difficulty concentrating Sleep disturbance Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 h after physical or mental activity

Extreme, long-lasting fatigue is the major symptom of CFS. However, there are eight primary symptoms (see Box) that you may experience. These symptoms often will not go away or keep coming back for 6 months or more.
You are diagnosed as having CFS if you have unexplained persistent fatigue that occurs for 6 months or more along with at least four of the eight primary signs and symptoms mentioned. Besides these major symptoms, individuals suffering from CFS have also reported additional signs and symptoms.

These symptoms can vary in degree from individual to individual. They are:
• Different types of allergies
• Digestive problems—diarrhea, abdominal bloating, pain
• Chest pain
• Persistent cough
• Giddiness
• Dry mouth
• Irregular heartbeat
• Vomiting sensation
• Depression and anxiety
• Shortness of breath
• Tingling sensations in the palms or feet
• Unexplained weight loss or gain
Besides these major symptoms, individuals suffering from CFS have also reported additional signs and symptoms.

Complications of CFS
Complications of CFS Chronic fatigue syndrome can lead to many complications that can affect your quality of life, both personal as well as professional. Possible complications of chronic fatigue syndrome include:

• Depression and social isolation caused by fatigue.
• Side effects and adverse reactions related to treatment of CFS.
• Lack of activity can lead to weight gain and or obesity.
• Lifestyle restrictions due to extreme fatigue.
• Absenteeism from work

Seeking medical help
Fatigue is a common symptom of many disorders and illnesses. Hence, CFS often goes unnoticed. See your doctor if you have persistent or excessive fatigue that prevents you from going about your normal daily tasks whether at home or at work. It could be a symptom of an underlying medical problem.
Your doctor will arrive at a diagnosis of CFS based on exclusion. This means that before arriving at a diagnosis, he or she will rule out the possibility of any other disease or condition that may be causing you extreme fatigue.
There is no clear-cut treatment for CFS. Treatment and management of CFS aims at relieving symptoms by using a combination of medication and lifestyle modifications. Some of the symptoms, such as body pain, sleep problems, anxiety and depression can be treated with medicine. But medication will only reduce your symptoms and give you brief relief, not cure the fatigue.

Coping tips
• Avoid stress—physical, psychological and emotional.
• Get sufficient sleep.
• Exercise regularly.
• Maintain a healthy lifestyle—eat a balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, limit your Caffeine intake, stop smoking and limit alcohol intake.
• Follow your doctor’s advice and take medication without fail.