Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Chronic fatigue syndrome is as frustrating as it is debilitating. One of the most frustrating things about the disease is the mystery which surrounds it. Its cause is unknown. Furthermore, the disorder was considered to be a figment of overactive imaginations for years. Even when it was finally acknowledged as a genuine, albeit mysterious, disorder, it was given the dismissive nickname of "yuppie flu."

This seeming lack of compassion can be very distressful to a person who already suffers from the disorder's many debilitating symptoms. First and most important among these is fatigue. The fatigue which accompanies chronic fatigue syndrome isn't the familiar exhaustion or weakness that most people feel at the end of a long day. Instead, the fatigue is all-consuming.

It does not improve with bed rest. It actually seems to worsen with exercise. In order to be diagnosed with CFS, a person must have felt deeply, absolutely fatigued for at least six months. This exhaustion can last anywhere from months to years.

Other Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

In addition to this fatigue, a person must experience at least four other symptoms of CFS to be diagnosed with the disease. There is no way to diagnose the disease other than looking at the symptoms, and ruling out other possible illnesses. The symptoms which accompany CFS begin at the same time or shortly after the fatigue begins. If the other symptoms precede the fatigue, the person probably does not have CFS, but rather has some other disorder.

Other symptoms include a sore throat, joint pain, and lymph nodes that are tender to the touch. Unusual headaches that occur in new places or with a new severity of pain are also symptoms. One of the worst symptoms to accompany CFS is difficulty concentrating or remembering something for the short term.

Other symptoms are not as readily noticeable. They include inflammation of the brain, abnormal immune system functioning, and hormone deficit. Viral infections may also be a result of CFS.

Treating CFS

Although it may not seem possible at first, people with CFS can improve many aspects of their health. They may not be able to do everything they could in the past, but they can regain happiness and lead a rich and full, if somewhat altered, life. Due to the emotional and psychological difficulty of facing CFS, many people with the disorder join a support group. These groups can be a tremendous blessing and help.

People with CFS should also begin taking supplements to improve the health of their immune systems. Much evidence points to the powerful impact glutathione levels can have on the health of a person with CFS. Glutathione is a tripeptide that naturally occurs in every cell of the human body. In those who are sick, glutathione levels tend to be low. Oral glutathione supplements are not effective, because glutathione is digested and broken down in the stomach, meaning very little actually reaches the bloodstream. It's important to take a precursor or building block of glutathione, and the most important of these is cysteine. Cysteine is best supplied by bioactive undenatured whey proteins. People with CFS can benefit from undenatured whey proteins that raise their glutathione back up to a normal, healthy level.

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