Science News: Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome an Inflammatory Disease?

Chronic fatigue syndrome has baffled those in the medical profession for decades, but now research is surfacing linking this mysterious condition to inflammation.

What is chronic fatigue?  

Fatigue is usually defined as a state of exhaustion and decreased strength accompanied by a feeling of weariness, sleepiness, and irritability, with a cognitive component. With chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), the extreme exhaustion is prolonged, comprising of a myriad of symptoms ranging from moderate to severe. When someone suffers from CFS, physical or mental activity can make it worse, but rest doesn’t make it better.

According to the CDC, between 836,000 and 2.5 million people in the United States have chronic fatigue syndrome. The CDC also estimate that approximately 90 percent of CFS cases remain undiagnosed, partly due to a lack of proper understanding of the condition on the part of many healthcare professionals. A report from the National Academies approximates that CFS generates direct and indirect expenses of $17-$24 billion annually.

What are the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome?

The main symptom of CFS is extreme fatigue for six months or longer, but this condition may also include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Trouble with concentration or memory loss
  • Unrefreshing sleep
  • Sore throat
  • Depression
  • Tender lymph nodes in the neck or armpit

How is CFS and inflammation related?

According to University Health News, there’s been an increase in recent knowledge of the pathways and mechanisms by which inflammation levels can negatively influence the body, affecting the central nervous system and immune system, producing fatigue. Inflammation isn’t always visible. Often times, inflammation is silent, meaning it’s not easily detected and can exist throughout the entire body for a prolonged period of time.

A study, conducted by researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, reveals that CFS is indeed an inflammatory disease and its severity is dependent upon the levels of cytokines—cell-signaling molecules which regulate inflammation—present in the body. The scientists discovered that those with mild forms of CFS manifested lower levels of cytokines while those with severe CFS exhibited higher levels.

How is chronic fatigue syndrome treated?

Those who are diagnosed with CFS are often administered antivirals, anti-inflammatory drugs, or medicines that stimulate the immune system. While most of the pharmaceutical drugs carry negative side effects, the most effective and safe way to treat inflammation is through natural methods, such as:

  • Nutrient-rich diet and supplements
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid sugar
  • Exercise
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Reduce toxins in your food and products

While chronic fatigue syndrome had been previously labeled incurable by many in the healthcare field, the branding is being lifted because of the recent knowledge of its ties with inflammation. When one addresses the inflammation, they subsequently confront the chronic fatigue as well.

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Distress or Chronic Stress

Distress or chronic stress is uncontrollable, prolonged, or overwhelming stress. Once stress becomes distress, the body manages to survive though not always to thrive. For example, when faced with periods of chronic stress, the body’s immune system function is lowered, and the digestive, excretory, and reproductive systems no longer function the way they should. In a state of distress, the cells of the immune system (and other body systems) are unable to respond normally and produce levels of inflammation which increase the risk of further health issues.

Homeostasis

Homeostasis refers to your body’s ability to regulate itself and maintain a comparatively stable internal environment despite external and internal conditions and events.

Your body is designed to be in a state of homeostasis, where all the systems within are functioning optimally.

Stressor

Stressor is anything that is perceived by the body as challenging, threatening or demanding.

Health Story

In the context of My Wellbeing Compass, your “Health Story” represents the combination of your dis-eases, conditions, symptoms and the history that binds them together. It is multi-layered and multi-dimensional. Unearthing and resolving the root causes at the core of your Health Story is the only way to truly rewrite this Story.

Natural Self-repair Mechanisms

The body is made up of intelligent, living cells that are dynamically connected. They communicate and just know what to do and when to do it in any given situation. They grow, replicate, repair, and age. Every 90 days, the body has a new bloodstream; every year, it manufactures billions of new cells; colon cells refresh every 4 days; the skin is entirely regenerated every 2-3 weeks; white blood cells regenerate in about 1 year; the liver renews itself at least once every 2 years; and the skeleton replaces its cells entirely every 10 years.

You are an incredibly complex, interactive, and dynamic living organism that is well-equipped with self-repair mechanisms that can fight infections, eliminate toxins, fix damaged DNA, destroy cancer cells, and even slow down aging.

This natural self-healing ability (also referred to as cellular intelligence or body’s innate intelligence) explains spontaneous remissions from seemingly “incurable” diseases.

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