Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by extreme tiredness and weakness, disabling the individual to lead an active life. It is a delicate condition, which is not relieved by rest, gradually weakens all systems and worsens after prolonged rest.
This pathology exerts a functional limitation due to muscle pain, general weakness and intolerance to physical activity. It affects cognitive functions, concentration, memory, and rational thinking. In addition to influencing the ability to fulfill tasks and interact assertively with others.
Although, there are still many doubts about the factors that cause chronic fatigue syndrome. Sleep disorders such as apnea or insomnia have been considered to be direct generators. Also, medical and psychological problems; such as anemia, diabetes, irritable bowel, eating disorders, depression, and distress; also, they point as triggers of this pathology.1
In view of the difficulty to establish a specific symptomatology to this disease. Internationally endorsed diagnostic criteria have been established, which include infectious, immunological, muscular and neuroendocrine markers. Where at least four of them must be met at the same time, to delimit the clinical picture.
The major criteria are summarized in chronic fatigue for more than 6 months and exclusion of other diseases. In the minor criteria we have, lack of concentration, pain when swallowing food, lymphadenopathy, acute muscle pain, joint discomfort, persistent headache, lack of restorative sleep and discomfort lasting more than 24 hours after exertion.2
What can be done?
Chronic fatigue syndrome has no cure. Therefore, the treatment; led by an interdisciplinary group of physicians, neurologists, rheumatologists, psychologists, and therapists; seek to apply mechanisms to alleviate symptoms. Hoping to stop the physical and mental exhaustion.
- The use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs to reduce muscle and joint pain becomes a very useful alternative. Since, this allows the patient to carry out activities and develop personality. Likewise, antidepressants will help to deal with anxiety and depression. Improving the quality of sleep, motivation and social performance.3
- Behavioral therapies seek to develop coping skills. So that both the patient and the people in their environment address the limitations, symptoms, consequences and possibilities that are attached to this pathology. At the same time, it seeks to establish healthy habits, helping well-being and health, in the midst of limitations.
- Encourage activity, without generating discomfort. Since, moderate physical exercise helps keep muscles, joints and heart in good condition. Likewise, reading, doing sudoku puzzles, crosswords or word searches, keeps the brain active, reducing the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases.
- Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, psychotherapy, meditation and yoga, are very useful to alleviate pain and relieve stress. At the same time, they serve to create personal awareness and improve emotional health. Which leads to the medication and treatment to emerge a positive effect.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is considered a serious disease with long-term management. Therefore, seek the guidance of a professional, establish healthy habits, put the best attitude, eat well and follow medical recommendations. They will be actions that substantially improve the quality of life.
- Barbado Hernández FJ, Gómez Cerezo J., López Rodríguez M., Vázquez Rodríguez JJ Chronic fatigue syndrome and its diagnosis in Internal Medicine. An. Med. Internal (Madrid) [Internet]. May 2006 [citado 2021 Abr 11]; 23 (5): 239-244. Available in:
- J. Fernández Solà. Chronic fatigue syndrome. Elsevier. [internet] 2002 [consultado 11 abril 2021]. 40 (2): 56-63. Available in: https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-medicina-integral-63-articulo-el-sindrome-fatiga-cronica-13034631.
- Alfredo Avellaneda Fernández, A. Álvaro Pérez Martín, Maravillas Izquierdo Martínez. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Consensus document. Elsevier. [internet] 2009 [consultado 11 abril 2021]; 41 (10): 529-531. Available in: https://www.elsevier.es/es-revista-atencion-primaria-27-articulo-sindrome-fatiga-cronica-documento-consenso-S0212656709004041.