Fatigue has been in the medical literature for hundreds of years in many forms and indicated by several different historical terms.
The medical profession has recognized Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as a medical condition. More thoroughly examined since the 1980s, CFS is known to attack, most typically, Caucasian women from their mid-20s to late 40s. The disease strikes mostly young adults, women more often than men. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the minimum CFS prevalence rate in the U.S. to be four to 10 cases per 100,000 people. Jon Sterling, chairman of the Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Association of America puts the figure to an estimated 800,000 Americans.
CFS is characterized by prolonged, debilitating fatigue and multiple nonspecific symptoms like headaches, recurrent sore throats, muscle and joint pains and cognitive complaints. Its hallmark is profound fatigue, and its symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly, persisting up to six months or for years. Often, chronic fatigue is related to a sleeping disorder. According to the Centers for Disease Control, sleep physiology may be central to understanding chronic fatigue syndrome.
Eleanor Hanna, a CFS expert at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md believes that there is no known cause and no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. However, some researchers believe that a viral infection kicks off the syndrome. But after the initial infection clears, patients might still have a chronic, smoldering infection, one that can't be picked up by lab tests, says Ronald Glaser of Ohio State University in Columbus. Another theory holds that a nutritional deficiency may be a contributing factor causing CFS, so it's important to maintain a healthful diet. According to the OnLine Pharmacy, a website for health information, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, refined sugar, white flour, salt, and fried, preserved, high-fat foods in favor of whole grains, beans, rice, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables could be a feasible solution. Moreover, edible seaweeds, shiitake mushrooms, and liquorice should be added to the diet and eating two cloves of garlic a day may help boost immune system's antiviral and antibacterial activity.
1. Parcell, James, “Seabiscuit jockeys for CFS recognition”, Washington Post, July 30, 2003
2. Adato, Allison “Against The Odds”, Time Inc. August 11, 2003