Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Do you have a client who seems abnormally fatigued all the time? Has the condition persisted for quite a while all during the time you have had them as clients? CFS may be the culprit if clients show up with overwhelming fatigue, seemingly not relieved by rest, to the extent that their activity levels are decreased at least 50%. How CFS is caused is not currently known.
The fatigue of CFS is accompanied by characteristic symptoms lasting at least 6 months. These symptoms include:
– problems with short-term memory or concentration severe enough to affect job, social, or personal activities
– a frequent or recurring sore throat
– tender lymph nodes in neck or armpit
– muscle pain
– multi-joint pain without swelling or redness
– headaches of a new type, pattern, or severity
– unrefreshing sleep and
– extreme, prolonged exhaustion and an overall feeling of sickness lasting more than 24 hours following physical or mental activity.
The symptoms listed above are used to diagnose this illness. However, many CFS patients may experience other symptoms, including irritable bowel, depression or psychological problems, chills and night sweats, visual problems, allergies, “brain fog,” difficulty maintaining upright position, dizziness, balance problems or fainting.
Based on an American study of more than 28,000 adults, 422 per 100,000 had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This suggests that 125,000-150,000 Canadian adults may have CFS.1 It also affects children1;2 and occurs more often in females than in males, at a rate of almost 2:1. It is mainly a disorder that strikes young to middle-aged adults.1
Currently there is no “magic bullet” to treat CFS. The focus of management includes coping strategies, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), a graded exercise program and symptom management. Treatment to assist in management to help decrease fatigue, pain and sleep problems is often included.
Carruthers BM, vandeSande MI. ME/CFS Canadian Consensus Document-A Clinical Case Definition and Guidelines for Medical Practitioners. © 2005/2006.
UpToDate. Clinical features and diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. S Gluckman. 2011. www.uptodate.com.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Chronic fatigue syndrome. General information. Accessed, July, 2011 at http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/general/index.html.
Courtesy of CPTN http://www.cptn.com/