Many people go through times in their lives when they just can’t seem to get enough sleep and as a result, feel sluggish and can't focus.
However, those feelings and others are permanent for the millions of Americans suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). March is designated as National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month in order to help people understand and cope with the symptoms of this troubling condition.
The Costs and Limitations of Chronic Fatigue
The most common symptom of CFS is persistent exhaustion that comes on suddenly and doesn't get better with rest. Additional symptoms often mimic those of a cold or the flu, including headaches, muscle aches, joint pain, irritability, dizziness, or difficulty concentrating. People with CFS can suffer as much as a 50 percent decrease in their activity levels, and become tired very easy with relatively little exertion. Some people need rest after physical activity or stressful situations; while others may be completely unable to do housework or perform job duties due to overwhelming fatigue.
While researchers have not identified a single cause of CFS, the risk factors for the condition include:
- Age. Although CFS can be diagnosed at any age, it's most common in adults between 40 and 60 years old.
- Gender. Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with CFS than men.
- Stress. Both physical and emotional stresses are identified as risk factors for CFS patients. Stress causes a negative impact on the central nervous system, affecting the hormonal balance in the body. The hormones can then wreak havoc by influencing the immune system, disrupting sleep patterns, and impacting other bodily systems.
- Impaired immune systems. CFS has been linked to autoimmune disorders and immuno-compromise, suggesting that those who get sick often or have aggravated allergy symptoms may be more susceptible.
- Health history. Some people have suffered CFS after battling widespread infections, such as mononucleosis, or after prolonged nutritional deficiencies.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome goes far beyond simply “being tired;” it's a potentially disabling condition that can last anywhere from a few months to several years. Some patients will never return to their pre-illness level of activity, causing them to suffer emotional and financial losses as a result. Call us today or fill out the form on this page to find out if you could qualify for Social Security benefits for chronic fatigue.