Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia

From Fibromyalgia Treating:

Both of these conditions cause the kind of long-term fatigue that you might be experiencing, and both are devastating to have to live with. So, it’s important that if you think there’s a chance you have either condition that you take the time to learn more about them and how they are managed. So what are chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and what can be done to treat them?

What Is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Doctors don’t know much about chronic fatigue syndrome. They don’t know what causes it, and in fact, they aren’t completely sure what it even is. Some suspect that it might be an autoimmune condition or the late stages of some previously undescribed disease.

But regardless of what chronic fatigue syndrome actually is, there are a few symptoms that are a dead give away. First, there is the fatigue. Obviously, the main sign of chronic fatigue syndrome is that it causes you to feel tired over a long period. Doctors consider any fatigue lasting from 3-6 months to be “chronic.”

People with chronic fatigue syndrome feel a chronic fatigue that is hard to cope with. They often nod off during the day at bad times or have a hard time performing mentally challenging tasks due to the fact that they are constantly exhausted.

But what sets chronic fatigue syndrome apart from the many other diseases that cause chronic fatigue is that there are also some physical symptoms. Often in chronic fatigue syndrome, patients get frequent sore throats and muscle pains. This had led to the speculation that chronic fatigue syndrome is an autoimmune disorder since these are symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders, but so far there’s not medical consensus on the issue.

What Is Fibromyalgia?

Like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia leaves sufferers feeling run down much of the time. On top of the fact that people with fibromyalgia often have a hard time sleeping, the condition itself leaves them feeling fatigued. And also like with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia seems to have no obvious cause.

Some doctors think it’s an autoimmune disorder and others blame everything from diet to overactive microglia in the brain. But no matter what the actual cause of fibromyalgia is, the symptoms are often hard to deal with. There’s the chronic fatigue but also the extreme pain in the muscles that seems to flare up from time to time and the mental fog that makes it difficult to think. In addition, there’s a wide variety of more unusual symptoms such as chronic itching and IBS.

How Are Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia Treated?

If you have either chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia, you’re probably most concerned with finding a cure. Unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of an effective cure at the moment… for either condition. That means that by and large your life after a chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia diagnosis will mostly be limited to trying to find some way to manage such disabling conditions.

Luckily, there are a few different ways that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are treated. For fibromyalgia, the only drugs that are officially approved for treatment are anti-depressants. For some people who suffer from fibromyalgia, these anti-depressants are effective in treating their symptoms. But others find little relief from them. But there are a number of other drugs that people with fibromyalgia turn to, particularly a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. Though these are usually used for treating epilepsy, many people with fibromyalgia feel that they work well for their symptoms.

This is also similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, which is often treated with antidepressants as well. But other ways to manage chronic fatigue focus on things like diet and exercise. While these are certainly not a cure for the condition, they can help quite a lot with the severity of your symptoms. And this is also the case with fibromyalgia as patients who maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle consistently report less severe fibromyalgia symptoms.

And that shows the degree to which chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia are related. Both produce similar symptoms and are treated in similar ways. And until doctors know what causes these conditions, being able to manage them is, unfortunately, the best people who suffer from them will be able to hope for. But managing the conditions starts with learning about them.

Information is from FibromyalgiaTreating.com and is posted here for sharing purposes only.
Image from Flickr
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