When you don’t feel like doing anything, experience weakness, sleepiness, and muscle pain. Everyone knows that it’s time to rest well, get some sleep, and then dive back into work, studies, and lead an active daily life. But what if this state persists for three months, six months, and no walks or a cozy couch help? What is this ailment, and when should you seek help from a specialist? Chief Doctor and Founder of Smart Health Clinic, Zukhra Galimova

Fatigue is a normal physiological response of the body to overload, prolonged work. It’s a signal that it’s time to rest. But sometimes fatigue is associated with pathology. Chronic fatigue syndrome, systemic exertion intolerance disease, myalgic encephalomyelitis, post-traumatic stress disorder – these are the names of chronic illnesses affecting various systems of the body. Their main manifestation is pronounced but unmotivated general weakness. It’s also important to note that this is not a form of depression or hypochondria but an independent somatic illness. And if measures are not taken in time, the ailment can lead to professional and social maladjustment.

Disruption of Energy Metabolism

The exact origin of the disease is unknown. At the physiological level, a person experiences constant energy deficiency or disruption of energy metabolism in the cells of the body. This results in excessive accumulation of lactic acid due to physical exertion; insufficient oxygen supply to tissues; increased levels of antiviral antibodies, endorphins, and interferons, decreased numbers of natural killer cells – leukocytes that protect the body from virus attacks, and so on.

Stresses and infections are to blame

The main causes of chronic fatigue syndrome are bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, allergic reactions, autoimmune diseases, mold poisoning, pesticides, and other toxins, steroid use, anesthesia, and so on. It’s also worth mentioning stress, psychoemotional stress, physical and emotional traumas. A combination of genetic factors, immune system characteristics, and a person’s lifestyle play a major role in their susceptibility to hidden infections. It’s assumed that the disruption of balanced activity of the neuroendocrine and immune systems of the body arises as a result of aggressive influences of modern living conditions (informational and psychoemotional overload, deterioration of ecological conditions, etc.).

Women aged 25 to 40 are most susceptible to chronic fatigue syndrome.

Listen to your body

Doctors identify so-called major and minor signs of chronic fatigue syndrome.

Major symptoms are characterized by unexplained chronic fatigue not related to mental or physical stress. They do not go away after rest and are accompanied by impairment of short-term memory, attention concentration, and consciousness confusion. These symptoms are not associated with other medical or psychiatric conditions and persist for six months or more. Weakness after any (even minor) exertion is a characteristic feature of the disease and is usually accompanied by headaches, insomnia, and irritability. The duration of these symptoms is more than 24 hours. Such a condition can occur even after performing simple tasks (such as walking or maintaining a conversation) and requires significant lifestyle changes.

Minor symptoms include headaches, muscle and joint pain, chest pain, tenderness of neck or underarm lymph nodes, periodic dizziness, vegetative disorders, nausea, gastrointestinal disorders, loss of appetite, anxiety, uncertainty, apathy, emotional depression, daytime sleepiness, nighttime insomnia, memory impairment, subfebrile temperature, prolonged discomfort after physical or mental exertion. Many patients experience thermoregulatory disturbances – they poorly tolerate cold or heat. In some cases, there are complaints of throat pain when swallowing, not related to colds. Chronic fatigue may be accompanied by weight loss (up to 10-12 kg in two months).

In the acute onset of the disease, neurological symptoms may be noted: problems with the vestibular apparatus, balance disorders, hyperreactivity to light and sound, pain in nerve projection areas.

If these signs appear, it is advisable to consult a doctor and develop a treatment plan together with them.

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