Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating and very complex disorder characterised by extreme fatigue. This type of fatigue is not improved by getting rest. It may be made worse by physical or mental activity and can limit your ability to complete ordinary daily activities. CFS can affect multiple systems in the body causing muscle pain or weakness, cognitive dysfunction (brain fog), and insomnia (the inability to sleep).
Those who suffer from lupus and other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, just to name a few, are often chronically tired. This leaves many wondering, is it CFS or is it just fatigue?
The main symptom of CFS is severe and debilitating fatigue that lasts for six months or more. According to the Mayo Clinic, CFS has eight other official symptoms in addition to the fatigue that gives it its name:
1. Unexplained muscle pain
2. Headaches that are different than those you have had in the past, in a new pattern, or with changing in severity
3. Loss of memory or concentration
4. Feeling unwell or extremely exhausted more than 24 hours after any physical or mental activity/exertion
5. Joint pain that moves between joints without swelling or redness
6. Sore throat
7. Sleep problems (insomnia) or sleep that does not restore energy
8. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
Treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome focuses on symptom relief, but because each individual experiences CFS in different ways, treatment protocol will vary from patient to patient.
Here at the Natural Store, we’ve come up with some natural alternative suggestions that may be useful to try.
-Identify any lifestyle /other factors that may be the cause of your stress (work, family situation, poor diet). Manage and reduce your stress- Limit emotional stress and overexertion. Make time each day for relaxation and even meditation. Learn how to say ‘no’ and not feel guilty about it!
-Eating a healthy diet is fundamental, full of colours of the rainbow including green juices/smoothies. You could try including Barley grass as it is for blood cleansing and general tonic for energy levels. Cut down on or cut out on any endocrine stressors/irritants, such as dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed meats (especially pork products) and other processed foods which will all leave you feeling sluggish and low in energy as they are anti-nutrients (except dairy which does have some nutritional benefits).
–Floradix liquid iron and b vitamins will help boost blood iron levels and b vitamins for energy. A good multi vitamin (we recommend Terranova’s Living Multi-nutrient) will help top up any nutrients missing from a diet.
-Despite being fatigued, it is important to do some exercise daily, a gentle stroll out in the fresh air or a gentle bike ride. Fatigue requires a fatigued lifestyle to continue. Sitting around or sleeping too much will only make you feel worse. Yoga & Tai Chi are especially good for improving energy levels.
-Improve your sleep habits: This may mean that you need to go to bed at night and get out of bed in the morning at the same time each day to get your body on a schedule. Try to limit caffeine intake, alcohol and nicotine use, and avoid, if possible, napping during the day.
-Pace yourself: Have you heard of the spoon theory? It is about managing your expectations of what you will be able to accomplish each day. If you do too much on a given day, you may have less energy and stamina for the following day.
-Try to minimise social isolation: Without sacrificing your health or taxing your body further, positive social interaction can be very important to your well-being. Try to make and keep plans with friends and loved ones, even if it involves just staying in and watching a movie together!
-Important to point out – in the case of women in their child-bearing years – they are often low in Iron levels as well as B vitamins and Magnesium (because of menstruation) and so should get blood tests to confirm this.