I’m Fatigued Do I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)?

The short answer to that question is probably not. The estimates of how common chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is vary from less than a half percent of the population all the way up to 2 ½ percent. That’s a lot of people – at about a million in the United States – but fatigue is also one of the most common symptoms patients see doctors about.

The Mayo Clinic reports that everyday fatigue can be caused by many factors including;

  • Poor Sleep: Even a hour less sleep a night than you usually get can leave you tired throughout the day. Fitful sleep can do the same.
  • Stress: Going through life stressed and ‘on the go’ constantly doesn’t give you time to relax and replenish yourself.
  • Inactivity: Not exercising, on the hand, can have the same effect. Short but regular periods of exercise (30 minutes or longer four to five times a week) have been shown to decrease stress, improve mood and energy.
  • Poor Diet: If you’re not eating properly or getting enough fluids your body won’t have the fuel it needs to keep itself healthy.
  • Medications: Many medications, including anti-histamines and beta blockers, can cause fatigue.

None of the Above Apply…. Does That Mean I Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)?

Not necessarily, but it probably means you should see a doctor. The Mayo Clinic reports that if you experience sudden or persistent fatigue even after getting adequate rest for several weeks then it may be caused to an underlying medical condition. The Centers For Disease Control recently completed a large study that indicated that a large percentage of people who were fatigued and/or felt unwell had an underlying disorder that could usually be treated.

Other Diseases and Disorders That Cause Fatigue

 The most frequent cause of the undiagnosed fatigue and/or unwellness was thyroid disease, followed by anemia, diabetes and autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, heart disease, as well as substance abuse, melancholic depression and anxiety. Other possibilities include restless leg syndrome, sleep apnea and cancer.

The good news is that most of these diseases are easily diagnosed by routine blood tests that your physician will most likely have you take. Many can be treated successfully.

If I don’t gave any of  these diseases do I have chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS)?

You may but only a physician can diagnose you.

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Prevalence of chronic fatigue syndrome in metropolitan, urban, and rural Georgia W. Reeves, J. Jones, E. Maloney, C. Heim, D. Hoaglin, R. Boneva, M. Morrisey, R. Devlin. 2007 Population Health Metrics 5: 5

Office For Research Into Women’s Health, NIH. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

 

 

2 comments

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Ann Kelly August 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm

My LLMD did a study with Chronic disease patients and 89% had Lyme.

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Carol November 1, 2013 at 8:19 pm

What part of the country was this. I’d have been diagnosed with this as a child had I been born 35 yrs. later. But I was blessed to have figured out 30 yrs. ago that I have problems with carbs, can’t eat grains, or dairy, and must take megadoses of vitamins due to malabsorbtion. Having lived this way that long I’m healthier than my peers. But I’ve never had Lyme which is only just beginning to appear in this part of the US.
Carol

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