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Friday, May 12, 2017

World Chronic Fatigue Day - May 12

May 12th is recognised as International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CIND), and it has been observed since 1992. The CIND illnesses include Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), which is something not a lot of people are aware of. People may be suffering from it, but they often fail to associate it with an actual disease. The date May 12th was chosen because it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who was believed to have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This day is important because it creates awareness about this disease, which is often brushed aside as modern hysteria when in fact it is very real.

What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Fatigue, which may also be known as tiredness or exhaustion, is the state of being physically or mentally tired to such an extent that it starts showing in your daily life as an obstruction to the tasks that you may normally be able to carry out without getting tired. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is the constant, severe state of tiredness that is not relieved by rest. The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are similar to that of flu, last longer than six months and interfere with certain activities. It is an unfortunate condition which leaves you feeling tired, sleepless, sluggish and very lethargic.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is officially known as Systematic Exertion Intolerance Disease' (SEID). A typical patient is one who's had a normal life but suddenly starts to feel tired and it worsens over the course of time.

People commonly mistake fatigue as signs of ageing. Sure, with passing years, there are various changes that come about in the body, but it usually occurs gradually. If you suddenly feel yourself getting tired and lethargic more often, not being able to concentrate on work, finding it hard to remember things, suffering from dizziness and find yourself off-balance, or having difficulties in sleeping, then you shouldn't just brush it off as a passing phase. You will be surprised to learn that it has more to do than your ageing factor.

Causes of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

There still needs to be more research on the causes of this condition. Since the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome are similar to that of flu, some experts suggest that it could be due to some sort of microbial infection whereas others pinpoint psychological stress. Some of the most common causes of fatigue include sleep deprivation, prolonged physical or mental work, or extended periods of stress and anxiety.

Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The symptoms could vary from mild to severe. It starts with severe fatigue for a period of six months, which is not because of exertion, and isn't relieved by sleep or rest. Other symptoms include -
  • Low energy levels
  • Trouble with memory and concentration
  • Improper sleep
  • Muscle pain
  • Flu-like feeling, including sore throat
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Visual disturbances
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Stomach-related trouble like IBS, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, etc

Depending on the condition of the patient, there are various treatments that are available such as medication (sleeping pills and anti-depressants), counselling, improving lifestyle habits, engaging in physical activities but pacing them out, so on and so forth

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