Chronic fatigue (CF) versus Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Chronic fatigue is a feeling of tiredness that persists for months to even years. It is also challenging to treat as it can be a symptom of conditions like candidiasis, lupus, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or food and environment allergies. CF also shows links to lifestyle factors like nutritional deficiency, insomnia, physical exhaustion, depression, hormonal imbalance or reactions to medication.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, however, is perpetual tiredness that is not caused by other medical conditions and cannot be relieved by resting more. Some research even suggests that the Epstein Barr virus or Human Herpes virus-6 may be responsible for CFS, although causation is still unproven.
In blurb form: CF is a symptom of other ailments, while CFS still has no known cause.
Some common symptoms of both CF and CFS are headaches, low-grade fever, difficulty concentrating, irritability, joint pain, muscle weakness, muscle pain, loss of memory, lymphatic congestion, and throat irritations.
I find that conventional, specialized medicines often misdiagnose CFS as a result of their fragmented conceptions of the body. They obsess over labelling you, the patient, as a collection of parts and symptoms and prescribe accordingly. Worse still, they cannot find the root cause of your CFS, so they dismiss it as stress or depression.
Depression is the most common misdiagnosis of CFS. It makes sense – imagine you were startled awake at 4:30 AM, and that is how you feel for the entire day. Depression is not an unplausible diagnosis, but it is often a false positive.
So, you would be prescribed anti-depressants – but you are not depressed, you only test like it. The result: patients are discouraged from asking more in-depth questions and disempowered from seeking appropriate care.
Intravenous (IV) therapy* is by far the most efficient and immediate technique to get you back to feeling better. But if you are one of the needle-averse, a course of oral supplements is better suited for for. Supplements like:
- Iron (if your levels test low)
- Adrenal extract
- Ginseng extract
- Vitamins C & D
- Eleutherococcus (Siberian Ginseng)
Internal medicine is not the only way to treat CF and CFS. You can also integrate new activities into your day-to-day life.
Lighter activities like Tai Chi, yoga, walking, and deep breathing exercise are fantastically easy practices to incorporate into your day.
I do, however, always tell patients to pace themselves and avoid more taxing exercises like running, weight lifting, or intense cardio. Exerting yourself in the extreme may feel great while you exercise, but you will end up more fatigued than you were before.
I will say this one more time: exercise is great, but do not go overboard, or your fatigue will persist.
A case study
I have a 25-year-old female patient. Her energy levels were nonexistent. She would feel lethargic after sleeping 16 hours a day. Simple things like taking the garbage out to the curb were a challenge for her. Keeping up with school and holding a job seemed impossible. Her social life vanished. She had sensitivities towards most foods and would show digestive symptoms and felt even more tired when she ate.
Many medical doctors diagnosed her with IBS, “Oral food allergies,” spastic colon, depression, asthma, and anorexia. None of her specialists could pinpoint the cause of such severe fatigue. The doctors focused exclusively on her digestive symptoms, which lead them to miss the real reason for the fatigue robbing her of her life.
It was a slow process, but through continual adrenal support, her energy slowly returned.
I only realized that her fatigue derived from adrenal exhaustion when I checked her cortisol levels. They were low in the morning and high in the afternoon – the opposite of how it should be. And yet, conventional medicine does not treat adrenal exhaustion.
So I concentrated on her adrenal glands, revitalizing them with botanicals, vitamins, adrenal extracts, and IV infusions. It was a slow process, but through continual adrenal support, her energy slowly returned. Her confidence came back, and her digestive issues receded. She now lives a healthy, productive, and happy lifestyle.
She still sees me twice a year to maintain her new baseline, and I am happy to say that her future looks bright.