Not sure whether you are going mad with an ‘invisible’ and ‘psychosomatic’ illness or whether you are one of a rapidly growing number of people suffering with a fatiguing illness?
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Please find below the official diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivity which are referred to collectively on this site as fatigue syndromes.
Click for more About Fatigue Syndromes or here to watch part 1 and part 2 of the video CFS & Fibromyalgia: Explained.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The primary presenting symptom of chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) is fatigue and according to the 1994 Centre for Disease Control criteria it can only be diagnosed after six months of experiencing new and incapacitating fatigue that cannot be attributed to another medical cause. The fatigue should also not be improved by rest and should be accompanied by at least four of the following:
Impairment of short-term memory and concentration
A sore throat
Tender lymph nodes
Headaches of a new type, pattern or severity
Unrefreshing sleep or insomnia
Fatigue lasting more than 24 hours after exertion
Chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S) has replaced the previous term myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) in the UK.
Fibromyalgia or fibromyalgia syndrome (F.M. or F.M.S.) is a chronic syndrome which is also characterised by chronic fatigue and many of the other symptoms of CFS. In fact, 70 per cent of all fibromyalgia sufferers experience overwhelming fatigue and 95 per cent meet the diagnostic criteria for chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.). However, in fibromyalgia the primary presenting symptom is muscle, joint and/or bone pain which often occurs in the shoulder, back and/or neck regions.
To get an official diagnosis of fibromyalgia the sufferer must have experienced widespread pain (in more than one quadrant – where the body is divided into four ‘quarters’ above and below the waist, right and left) for at least three months. In 1990 The American College of Rheumatology developed criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia including the presence of tenderness or pain in 11 or more of 18 specific points on the body.
Multiple chemical sensitivity
Many sufferers of multiple chemical sensitivity (M.C.S.) also have a chronic condition bearing many of the hallmarks of chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) or fibromyalgia. However, their primary presenting problem is an oversensitive or deranged immune system that responds to many unrelated and environmental chemicals.
The causes of these disorders are addressed in depth in the book Chronic Fatigue, M.E., and Fibromyalgia: The Natural Recovery Plan.
Symptoms and predisposing factors
Listed below are the most common symptoms and predisposing factors associated with Fatigue Related Syndromes (F.R.S).
Being female Sufferers are nine times more likely to be female than male. Refer to this article about Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Stress and trauma Either a major stress or trauma and/or series of stresses and traumas can precipitate fatigue syndromes. Fatigue sufferers frequently experienced an unusual amount of childhood stress also. For more information refer to Endocrine Gland Disorders, or the book reviews of Adrenal Fatigue and Trauma and Addiction.
Vaccinations Occasionally a vaccination may tip a seemingly healthy individual into a fatigue syndrome or the vaccination programme may contribute to the condition through repeated doses of the mercury preservative, thimerosal and/or repeated insults to the immune system. Refer to Concerns About the Safety and Efficacy of Vaccinations.
Fatigue The central complaint in chronic fatigue syndrome (C.F.S.) and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is a profound and overwhelming fatigue not relieved – or only partially relieved – by rest.
Musculoskeletal dysfunction Muscle and joint pain especially chronic pelvic pain, and pain and stiffness of the shoulder, neck and/or back. See Joint Support and Back and Neck Pain.
Temperomandibular joint dysfunction (T.M.D or T.M.J.D.) Jaw joint problems and pain.
Pain Headaches, testicular, eye pain, etc. Headaches and Management of Pain.
Sleep dysfunction Difficulty getting to sleep, staying asleep, unrefreshing sleep or a profound insomnia are all very common findings in fatigue syndromes. See Insomnia: The Hidden Epidemic.
Pharmaceutical and recreational drug use A history of either pharmaceutical or recreational drug use is often associated with the onset of chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Respiratory problems Difficulty or pain on breathing or a perceived difficulty breathing including a chronic cough, shortness of breath or sleep apnoea.
Hypoglycaemia This is poor blood sugar control resulting in feeling weak, faint or shaky if you have not eaten for a few hours and/or the need to eat frequently.
Weight change Often an unexplained weight gain, but occasionally weight loss without change in diet is associated with a chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
Digestive deficiencies An almost universal finding of irritable bowel syndrome, digestive discomfort, bloating, excessive flatulence, etc. The Stomach: Key to Health, The Small Intestine, and The Large Intestine and Guilt.
Liver and gall bladder dysfunction This results in diagnosed liver or gall bladder disorders; in pale, sticky stools that float and/or in passing gall stones (may be mistaken for undigested peas). See Chinese Medicine: The Liver, Supplements to Aid Liver Detoxification and The Gall Bladder and Rage.
Nutritional deficiencies A diet that is deficient in protein and other nutrients may precipitate chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia – particularly vegan or vegetarian diets where inclusion of proteins at every meal may not have been given enough importance. See Modern Malnutrition and Book Review: Trick and Treat.
Endocrine dysfunction A thyroid disorder is the most frequently diagnosed endocrine disorder, but other disorders such as adrenal dysfunction often go undiagnosed, unrecognised and untreated. Click for more about Endocrine Gland Disorders, Book Review: Your Thyroid and How to Keep it Healthy, Book Review: Adrenal Fatigue and Stress and the Adrenal Glands.
Low body temperature Sufferers may feel cold much of the time, or when others are comfortable and have difficulty warming up. Cold hands and feet are also often found.
Viral and bacterial infections Frequent, recurrent or chronic infections are a common finding – especially respiratory disorders. Click for more about Infective Organisms and for Live Blood Analysis.
Candidiasis This is overgrowth of the commensal yeast, Candida albicans, which causes ‘leaky gut’, thrush, athlete’s foot and jock itch. Click for more about Infective Organisms and for Live Blood Analysis.
Alcohol intolerance A common finding – even tiny amounts of alcohol may make the chronic fatigue syndrome, M.E., or fibromyalgia sufferer profoundly unwell for days afterwards. Click for more About Drink and fatigue syndromes
Allergies and intolerances There is often a growing history of allergies such as hay fever and of multiple chemical sensitivities (M.C.S.). Refer to Food Intolerances in Fatigue Syndromes.
Lymphatic dysfunction This often results in swollen lymph glands and puffiness of the extremities. See Lymphatic System.
Autoimmunity Disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes and Lupus are all commonly associated with fatigue syndromes. Click for more About Fatigue Syndromes and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Urinary dysfunction A frequent or urgent need to urinate is a very common finding and often mistaken for ‘cystitis’ in women. See Urinary Incontinence.
Reproductive dysfunction There is an almost universal history of endometriosis, miscarriage, infertility, still births, an irregular and painful menstrual cycle, heavy menstrual bleeding, ovarian cysts, hysterectomy, breast tenderness and premenstrual syndrome (P.M.S.) in women. Males may have lowered sperm counts or ineffective sperm. See Common Male Health Problems, Miscarriage and Menopause.
Sexual dysfunction Both sexes may experience pain in their reproductive organs, may have difficulty becoming aroused or achieving orgasm. See Common Male Health Problems, Prostate Problems and The Fragile Libido.
Central nervous system dysfunction Almost universal findings in fatigue related syndromes are those of difficulty concentrating, making decisions, remembering words, confusion and of poor memory. See Mercury, Memory and Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's and Autism: The Mercury Connection.
Depression An almost universal finding of anxiety and/or depression. See Depression and Mercury Toxicity.
Lack of coordination Being clumsy or accident prone, having difficulty writing/typing or having muscle tremors.
Cardiovascular dysfunction Often low blood pressure and occasional palpitations. Refer to the article Mercury and Cardiovascular Disease: Cause and Effect?
Skin conditions Skin is often thin and pale or tinged yellow. Sufferers experience strange skin sensations such as stabbing or crawling. There is frequently loss of body hair especially underarm or pubic hair and of leg hair in men. See Eczema and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.
Ear disorders Problems with hearing and balance and/or frequent ear infections are all common findings. See Hearing and Balance Problems: Iatrogenic Disorders
Eye disorders Deterioration in eyesight and/or visual disturbances and/or pain in the eyes all commonly occur.
The mouth Some fatigue syndrome sufferers experience a dry mouth and many have a bright red colouration of the membranes at the back of the throat.
For detailed information about recovering from fatigue related syndromes (F.R.S.) using natural means, please read Chronic Fatigue, M.E., and Fibromyalgia: The Natural Recovery Plan.
This entire site is devoted to the causation of fatigue syndromes and other chronic, serious and degenerative illnesses, so please search the archived articles, information, videos, podcasts, print media articles, recommended reading and useful contacts listing or use the search facility at the top of every page. However, you might be particularly interested in the following: