Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: The Causes

When Rhonda did get to her doctor's office she was prepared with a list of her symptoms which was very helpful for her diagnosis. Once she had her diagnosis, however, she prepared a list of questions to ask the doctor. First of all, she wanted to know how she contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Second, Rhonda really wanted to know what actually causes or triggers CFS in the body. Third, Rhonda wanted to know how the doctor really knew what she had, was actually Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Contracted?

At this time, no one is sure how a person contracts Chronic Fatigue. There have actually been several causes proposed, but at this point they are just theories. The proposed causes are as follows: iron-deficiency anemia, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), allergies, some specific viral infections, a dysfunction in the immune system, changes in level of hormones the body produces, and mild, persistent low blood pressure. Most of the time, no serious underlying condition or disease is specified as the root cause of a person contracting CFS. It may be an inflammation in the byways of the nervous system set off by a reaction by the autoimmune system. This is difficult to detect, however, as nothing can be detected in the blood. Another theory is that a virus could actually complicate an already dysfunctional immune system.

How is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome triggered in the Body?

CFS may occur following an infection, usually a virus. It can come after a time of great stress. More often than not though, there is no clear starting point Although researchers have been searching for almost twenty years to find a cause in the body for contracting CFS, it remains unknown. Currently much of the research is centering on the immune, endocrine and nervous systems and their interactions with each other. It is a possibility that genetic or environmental factors play a role in the development of CFS, but no one is sure how much of a role. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome does not seem to be caused by depression, but the two often go hand in hand.

How Can Doctors Be Positive that it is Actually Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Doctors conduct many tests when they suspect Chronic Fatigue to rule out every other disease that may exhibit similar symptoms. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is diagnosed when everything else is excluded. Diseases that need to be excluded would be hypothyroidism, depressive disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar-affective disorders, eating disorders, sleep apnea, cancer, autoimmune diseases, hormonal disorders, obesity, alcohol or substance abuse, reactions to medications, chronic mononucleosis, and certain infections.

How Do Patients Deal with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

CFS is a difficult condition to have just because so little is known-no specific causes, no known triggers, and no cure. Working with her doctor, Rhonda will have many of her symptoms either minimized or corrected, and she can focus on living as normal a life as possible. There are also organizations that are dedicated to help such as the National DFIDS Foundation, the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America, and the National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Association.


Photo Credit: Adam Tinworth

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