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Fibromyalgia Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Illness

Any detailed discussion of fibromyalgia fatigue is incomplete without also talking about chronic fatigue syndrome. In this article we’ll break down what chronic fatigue syndrome is and its relationship to fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia Fatigue Syndrome

So what is chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms or CFS? It’s a bit hard to define but generally speaking, it’s a complicated disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition. The fatigue is especially bad after physical or mental activity but can’t simply be fixed with rest. It lasts a long time and limits your ability to do ordinary daily activities.

ME and CFS

It’s also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis or ME. Since doctors can’t agree on an official term sometimes the two are blended together as ME/CFS but we will just call it CFS. This is a serious illness that affects an estimated 800,000 to 2.5 million Americans. Though most of them have not been diagnosed.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Some fibromyalgia symptoms experienced by those with CFS besides the crippling fatigue are sleep problems, muscle and joint pain headaches, sore throat, problems thinking, enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or armpits, dizziness and heart palpitations. One distinctive quality is that over exercising makes these symptoms worse in a very direct way. Diagnosing CFS is difficult because the symptoms are so similar to other conditions.

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No Specific Tests

There are no specific tests that can definitively prove CFS. So diagnosis is based on a combination of what you tell your doctor and tests that rule out other conditions. Besides fibromyalgia itself, the other conditions could be sleep disorders, anemia, diabetes underactive thyroid, heart and lung impairments, and mental health issues.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms

Fibro Fatigue Scale

The cause of CFS is unknown. Researchers think some people are born with a predisposition to the disorder. Their CFS is triggered by a particular event. These events can include viral or bacterial infections, immune system problems hormonal imbalances or mental health problems. CFS is most common among people in their 40s and 50s. It affects women at more than twice the rate of men.

Sounds Similiar?

How does CFS relate to fibromyalgia? If you know about fibromyalgia you would have noticed a lot of similarities between the two conditions. In fact, some people classify them as the same disorder. However, that is not actually correct. They are two distinct conditions. Only about 15% of fibro patients also truly meet the diagnosis of CFS.

Fibromyalgia Fatigue Worse Than Pain

They are like twins in the sense that they have a similar structure but each has its own expression or personality if you will. CFS is personality is more defined by fatigue. Fibro’s personality is more defined by fibromyalgia pain types. There are some subtle differences between the two conditions. CFS is frequently triggered by an infectious illness. Whereas fibro is more commonly triggered by trauma. Even though women are much more likely to suffer either.

Fibromyalgia Fatigue

Women and Men

Those affected by CFS have a more even gender distribution of 7 women to every three men. In contrast, fibromyalgia has a nine to one ratio of women to men.

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Finally, intolerance to exercise is more prominent for CFS patients. Well, this is certainly a problem for fibro folks too. They are less likely to be completely and utterly drained by exercise the way people with CFS are.

Unrest by Jennifer Brea

If you want to learn more about CFS we would highly recommend watching the documentary ”unrest” by Jennifer Brea. She has done a really good job giving you a lens into the day-to-day life and struggles of those with the condition. Including herself. If you watch the famous singer Lady Gaga fibromyalgia documentary, you will realize how devasting it can be. It is also available on Netflix.

Do you have chronic fatigue syndrome? How does it affect your daily life, what is your fibromyalgia Diet 2019? How to battle fibro fatigue? What things help you with fatigue and fibromyalgia solutions? let us know in the comments below.


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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Michele Reed

    I have suffered with this, I am pretty sure all my life! I have seen doctors upon doctors and I still only have Excedrin. I don’t go to the ER unless it’s to the point where I just can’t handle it anymore, whether it’s pain or throwing up, and I am constantly faced with- “we don’t treat chronic pain “- coming out of the doctor’s mouth! I teeter on the edge of major depression, come close to suicide several times, yet my doctor’s refuse to give me antidepressants and anxiety meds, despite the fact that what I ask for I have had before and know it works, because they say they aren’t COMFORTABLE prescribing it. I am in a living hell! NOBODY close to me understands and I’m constantly being made to feel like a worthless piece of shit, who is making this all up! I finally got disability and still I am made to feel like a horrible person because I am not working. I don’t have a support system, pain meds, antidepressants or anything else! I would like to know what in the hell I am supposed to do?????????

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