Wednesday, December 27, 2006

STRESS is NOT the cause of Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)

Parents suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome are often made to feel as if it is all in their heads. Family, friends, co-workers, employers, and even health care providers seem to believe that those with chronic fatigue syndrome are just not handling stress well.

I do not remember where I read this, however, this is what was stated: A March 2001 consensus panel, convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (
CFIDS) Association of America, proclaimed that stress is not the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Instead, the syndrome appears to be a hormonal/neurological problem. It is highly probable that an infection could trigger chronic fatigue syndrome, perhaps through a problem with the immune response to the infection.

Personally, I know my stress level has gone up with this illness. However, my stress is the inability to complete simple household tasks or even ability to work anymore. Your self-esteem is crushed and you feel so inadequate. These are feelings we have to work out and understand that we are doing the best that we can under these conditions. I know it is easier said than done. Try to give yourself a break, and do not be so hard on yourself.

I am blessed to have people around me understand that it is not in my head. Also, when I did work, I could work under pressure and enjoyed it. It was invigorating, like imparting strength and vitality. I have also read articles where it states that most people that end up with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue are "A" type personalities.

I hope this information is helpful to someone out there.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

CFIDS doesn't just impact the life of the people who have the illness. It affects everyone who cares for them.

I know from my own experience that this illness affects your family, friends and lifestyle. You have to learn to PACE yourself. The main challenge I have found is accepting my fatigue and pain. I lost the ability to continue working and doing simple household shores. You have no choice but to accept it because you are unable to complete simple tasks and the fatigue is chronic.

I have not been able to spend as much time with my extended family because I am always fatigue. It is not always visible to everyone. This is what makes it hard to accept, not only your co-workers, but friends and family see you and say "You look great". I may look great to them, but I do not feel great. I try to pretend nothing is wrong, but my own body fails me when I am trying to clean my room, make my bed, etc.

I am blessed with family and friends that have taken the time to read up on my illness and have tried to understand how difficult it is to just get out of bed on a daily basis.
I pray that anyone suffering from this illness has the same type of support system.

Please share your story.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome

What is Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome?

Fibromyalgia is a long-term problem that causes pain in the muscles and soft tissues of your body. You may lack energy or have trouble sleeping. These and other symptoms can be severe enough to affect your work and home life.

What causes fibromyalgia?
There are theories as to what may cause fibromyalgia, but at this point there is not enough evidence to support any single cause. Some experts think that fibromyalgia may be related to nerve cells that are too sensitive. Others think that chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) may be out of balance. Or it may be related to disturbances of the deep phase of sleep.

What are the symptoms of fibromyalgia?
Most people with fibromyalgia have pain in their muscles, soft tissues, back, or neck, as well as sleep problems. Many people get so tired (fatigued) that they become weak. If pain and fatigue are severe enough, the person can become disabled. A more specific sign of fibromyalgia is the presence of up to 18 specific tender points on the body.

Although they are less common than pain, fatigue, and sleep problems, a variety of other symptoms may occur as well. These include headaches, morning stiffness, trouble concentrating, and irritable bowel syndrome. As with many conditions that cause chronic pain, it is common for people with fibromyalgia to have anxiety and depression. These can make symptoms worse.
Symptoms tend to come and go. Times when they are constant (flares) may be followed by times when they occur less often with less intensity, or are absent (remissions).

How is fibromyalgia diagnosed?
Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on two things. One is widespread pain, defined as pain on both sides of the body above and below the waist. The other is tenderness in at least 11 of 18 tender points when pressed.

How is fibromyalgia treated?
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but doctors can treat and control the symptoms. If you have fibromyalgia, you can help manage the symptoms by taking an active role in your treatment.
Treatment may be different for each person. It can include:

* Getting regular exercise to help with muscle aches and stiffness.
* Changing your routine, schedule, and surroundings to improve your sleep habits and reduce stress.
* Taking medicine to help you sleep better and to relieve pain.
* Getting counseling to help you to manage long-term (chronic) pain and find better ways to handle stress.

Some people with fibromyalgia also find complementary therapies helpful. These include acupuncture, massage, behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques.

Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition that causes severe, unrelenting fatigue that interferes with a person's daily activities. The fatigue is not the result of exertion and it is not relieved by rest.

The cause of CFS is unknown.
Symptoms of CFS include fatigue, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly, memory problems, fever, headaches, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, and tender glands in the neck or armpits. Normal activity and light exertion cause tiredness and malaise that usually last longer than 24 hours.

Physical examinations and laboratory tests are done to rule out other causes of the symptoms. Because there is no test that can identify CFS, it can be diagnosed only by ruling out all other conditions.

This is some information I gathered from different sources, magazines, websites, and my own experience. Please share yours.