What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Really About?
I have heard so many versions of what CFS is and/or entails in addition to all the different “official” names it has. Wanting to know as much as I can about the disease I have lived with, I became a sponge; reading everything I can on what it is and what to expect. After 13 years of searching I found mostly descriptions but NO standard medical definitions… until now.
Physicians at the Bio Care International Hospital have pinned down this chronic illness both with a description AND and definition setting the record straight and making a lot of the symptoms more understandable in their origin.
Below is a summarized portion of an article written by Melba Romero, MD.
In the 1980’s, doctors began seeing cases at hospitals where they noticed young, active, and intellectually sound individuals experiencing months if not years of disabilities. They all experienced a loss in their goals and motivation, disabilities affecting both mental and physical aspects and symptoms grouped in such a way doctors couldn’t identify what was causing it. All of this paired with neurological signs caused physicians to take the “easy way out” by saying: “The problem is in your heads. You will get over it” or “you’re depressed, try Prozac” or the common “you need to rest more and take a vacation.”
What nobody seemed to understand at that time was that we were facing a new entity, an illness that is somehow connected to the failure of the immune system but may not be an auto immune disease itself!
WHAT IS CFS?
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is the official name given by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a multifactorial disorder that was not recognized in the USA until 1988. CFS has several other names commonly used: Epstein Bar Virus, Yuppie Flu, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), and in many place Myalgic Encenphalomylitis (ME).
It’s signs and symptoms can be confused with related condition such as Mononucleosis, Thyroid Dysfunction, Chemical and Food Sensitivities, Autoimmune diseases and other viral conditions.
This dysfunction seems to be mainly associated with several viruses, among the more common are EBV and HHV-6. Less common ones include retro-viruses and infectious agents like mycoplasmas.
The most common complaint of the CFS sufferer is energy loss that translates into a fatigue that does not improve with rest, vacation or entertainment. This fatigue can linger for long periods of time, often worsening with the length of time it is present. Probably one of the best diagnostic clues for physicians is that the CFS patient commonly states they do not feel like themselves. They feel disoriented, do not understand what is going on around them and desperately seek an answer for the departure from their usual persona.
Along with fatigue, other symptoms stemming from neurological origin are: insomnia, depression, moodshifts, emotional instability, unexplained sadness or guilt along with suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
Symptoms stemming from viral conditions are: frequently present as weakness, malaise, joint pains, recurrent headaches, stomach aches, sore throat, constant low-grade fever, swollen glands, night sweats, cough and cold symptoms.
These symptoms and others can occur in any combinations and at any intensity. Physicians are often faced with a myriad of disturbances in conjunction with the above listed symptoms, like digestive problems that range from belching and flatulence to constipation and loss of appetite. The development of food allergies and sensitivities which may include skin and eye irritations are also common. With an onset of multiple symptoms above, physicians could not accurately grasp what they were dealing with and commonly blamed the “undiagnoseable” disease on the patient’s mental state. The most common “treatment” was a prescription for anti-depressants and/or stimulants.
ORIGIN OF CFS
Bio Care International Hospital’s research suggests that CFS has multiple causes that either new or reactivated viruses or mycoplasma may be playing roles as catalysts to a preexisting condition of general immune impairment. These impairments can be caused from a variety of factors often relating to prior or on-going use of steroids and antibiotics (in foods and medications), recreational or prescription drug use, elevated numbers of mercury amalgam fillings/root canals, continual overexposure to industrial chemicals (pesticides, fluorinated water, electromagnetic emissions), pesticide exposure (ingested through mass farmed food), immunizations/vaccinations, anesthesia at young ages, parasitical infestations, possible genetic predispositions and more. The Western diet of genetically altered, modified and refined food can also affect the most sensitive of patients causing a resurgence or new virus to become active.
One critically important fact is that immune impairment can frequently cross-react with common viruses. In many cases an antibody is intended to attack a foreign protein may start to attack a normal component of the body instead, hence creating an autoimmunie-like reaction to an actual virus. For this reason, autoimmune symptoms and abnormal allergic reactions are frequently present. The autoimmune symptoms explain many of the neurological, muscular and degenerative issues while allergic reactions are explained by the universal reactor syndrome causing many of the digestive issues patients face.
Early in the origin of this disease, it was found that standard laboratory tests did not provide any diagnostic evidence. The major setback caused physicians to be unaware of the abnormal processes going on in other parts of the patient’s untested body areas. Having extensive experience dealing with viral, fungal and yeast infections, Bio Care Hospital’s doctors were able to quickly indentify that one of the major parameters observable in CFS patients was the level of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) titers. EBV is a relatively widespread virus that is acquired early in life and, due to the immune system, can stay dormant for the rest of a healthy individual’s life.
When the immune system undergoes dysfunctional conditions (see above for Origins of CFS), the normally dormant EBV virus can be reactivated which elevates the amount of antibodies the body produces to fight it. The same reactivation occurs with other viruses such as the HHV-6.
The Single Phonton Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) test of the brain is a technologically advances test which conclusively demonstrates the dysfunctional brain activity in a CFS patient.
Hopefully this blog will help you understand you or a loved one’s symptoms more. Stay tuned for Treatment Considerations and the Expected Outcomes.
For the full article from Bio Care Hospital and their brochure, please CLICK HEREBack to posts