Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Fatigue sufferers have not only physical exhaustion to deal with, but the grinding reality of having to emotionally cope with an illness that is poorly understood, difficult to diagnose, and often unresponsive to treatment. We have found that there are a number of causes as to why people have CFS. It is important to identify the cause, because this guides the treatment.

Here is an outline of our understanding of this debilitating condition.

Please note that this information is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. Please see your health care provider.

A diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is made when at least three of the following symptoms have been present for several months:

  • Extreme fatigue generally not improved by rest (unrefreshing sleep)
  • Extreme tiredness after physical exertion
  • Fibromyalgia (muscle pain)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Ongoing sore throat and tender lymph nodes
  • Joint pain without inflammation
  • Chronic headaches
  • Dizziness.

 

  • Conditions associated with chronic fatigue are:
  1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  2. Multiple food intolerances
  3. Chemical sensitivities.
  4. Cold intolerance
  5. Restless Leg Syndrome
  6. Irritable Bladder Syndrome.

 

Diagnosis.

An accurate diagnosis is a crucial first step. Chronic tiredness without any other of the above symptoms should not be diagnosed as CFS. Here are some other causes for ongoing fatigue:

  • Anaemia: especially common in menstruating women and vegetarians.
  • Hepatic disease: includes patients with fatty liver or gallbladder congestion.
  • Diabetes: Undiagnosed diabetes can be confused with CFS.
  • Hypoglycaemia: Dizziness, headache or vagueness between meals, unusual sweating, palpitations (can be confused with anxiety), tremor, irritability, excessive hunger and tachycardia can also be confused with CFS.
  • Malnutrition: Despite a Western diet, malnutrition still poses a problem. Check vitamin B12 status in vegetarians plus iron and haemoglobin, especially in menstruating women.
  • Infection: Chronic low grade infection such as urinary tract infection (UTI); slow tooth abscess; tonsillitis; Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
  • Cancer: Fatigue plus unexplained weight loss could suggest malignancy.
  • Lifestyle: Stress, lack of sleep and exercise and poor diet are common causes of chronic tiredness.
  • Mental illness: Depression can cause sleep disturbance and muscle pain.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnoea: A chronic snorer (child or adult) may have sleep apnoea. Apnoea may be caused by adenoid hypertrophy, nasal polyps or ozeana, obesity or cardiac disease.
  • Hypothyroidism: Weight gain, loss of hair, brittle nails, palpitations and fatigue can occur when there is an under active thyroid condition. The thyroid may be under active even in the TSH blood result comes back normal.

 

Fibromyalgia

CFS patients frequently have fibromyalgia. Symptoms include:

  • Generalised muscle pain in all four quadrants with tender points
  • Paresthesia
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Temporo-mandibular joint dysfunction.

 

Although fibromyalgia is a separate syndrome from CFS, it is included here because it is commonly associated with CFS.

SOME CAUSES OF CFS

For confirmed cases of CFS, we have found these varying causes of the condition:

Post Viral

In these simple cases of CFS there is a clear disease event, which has triggered the symptoms. Often, it is Glandular Fever (Infectious Mononucleosis), Cytomegalovirus or other viral pathogen.

Once the acute phase has passed, the fatigue doesn’t improve and more symptoms develop.

  • Cognitive disorders eg confusion, difficulty in concentration
  • Post-exertion myalgia
  • Recurring sore throats
  • Recurring fevers.

 

CFS patients in this category respond the most quickly to treatment.

Systemic Candida

Since the rise in use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, plus the widespread use of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP), more people suffer from altered bowel bacteria, which can give rise to a gut dysbiosis. This results from a decrease in the normal benevolent bacteria in the gut and an increase in the population of a normal gut yeast called candida albicans. When this occurs it often becomes a systemic disturbance. Typical symptoms are:

  • Foggy head
  • Mood swings
  • A ‘wired’, anxious feeling in the body
  • Fatigue
  • Aggravation from sugar
  • Oral, vaginal or rectal thrush.

 

Bacterial

Some pathogens cause symptoms, which appear like CFS. One of the earliest of these was gonorrhoea, which causes an inflammatory musculo-skeletal disease called Reiter’s Syndrome.

However, there are other pathogens too like mycoplasma, which can underlie chronic fatigue. Another of these is Borrelia infections, or Lyme diseases, which is a bacterial infection that is transferred by the tick. If it goes undiagnosed, it will cause symptoms suggestive of CFS:

Some patients only develop vague symptoms of malaise and fatigue, thus it is easy to confuse Lyme with CFS. Some patients may go on to develop fibromyalgia.

The first sign is a bulls’ eye type rash soon after or many weeks after the initial bite, called erythema migrans. The patient may have forgotten about the bite by the time symptoms appear.

The rash usually lasts for a few weeks and is then forgotten.

Vague flu-like symptoms, fatigue, lymph swelling

Later – and it may be many years later – the inflamed joint stage begins.

The last stage centres on the nervous system, with difficulty in concentration, memory loss. There may also be paralysis, vertigo, and neuralgia. Cases of meningo-encephalitis, cranial neuritis (especially Bell’s palsy) and motor radiculo-neuropathies have also been reported.

 

Heavy Metal toxicity

Heavy metal accumulation is a common (not uncommon) phenomenon. We are surrounded by heavy metals. Hair colouring contains lead. Deodorant contains aluminium. Water contains copper from pipes. Amalgam (silver) fillings in your mouth leak mercury. The heavy industry in the next suburb belches particles of cadmium into the air.

Some of us are better at excreting heavy metals than others. Our treatment enables your body to excrete heavy metals easily and naturally.

CFS patients whose symptoms are caused by heavy metal toxicity are most likely to have one or more of these toxic elements in their tissues:

  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Copper (copper is not a true 'heavy' metal yet it is a toxic element if you have too much)
  • Mercury

 

Chemical Exposure

Chemical exposures are one of the most damaging shocks to humans. Chemicals which are designed to destroy life, such as insecticides, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides can also destroy human life. This can happen insidiously over many years. This complex human body, which we call ‘me’, is home to millions of microorganisms, all of which play a vital role in our homeostasis. As they are destroyed by chemicals, so is the internal cleansing and detoxifying system of our body. Some chemicals have the capacity to reach beyond this to our mitochondria in cells and cause permanent damage there.

Ongoing small exposures to chemicals are also unfortunately a part of our modern world. Chemical exposure can occur while in utero. Tests on breast milk show that there are at least 300 chemicals in it. Identifying the precise chemical can be difficult. Vapour from the spray gun of a neighbour treating his vegetable garden with legally registered herbicides may end up in your kitchen. Another neighbour uses solvents in his garage. A farmer’s crops are sprayed and the pesticide is carried on the breeze for hundreds of kilometres. One case example was patient’s husband was involved in the manufacture of Agent Orange. Her indirect exposure through him was sufficient to produce multiple chemical sensitivity, CFS and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Constitutional

Individual, genetic factors are intimately involved in the onset and presentation of the CFS that can be triggers by large stresses such as emotional shocks and significant injuries.

Combination of all ………!

The majority of cases of CFS are complex and require a range of treatment approaches. To identify these, we require a detailed time line of all of the health events in their life, starting in utero.

These events may include:

  • Viruses
  • Emotional shocks
  • Injuries
  • Toxic chemical exposures
  • Vaccination reactions
  • Long term use of the oral contraceptive pill, antibiotics, cortisone, etc.
  • Illicit drug use

 

Treatment is based on the order in which your symptoms developed, the probable cause of those symptoms, using a range of methods including nutritional therapy, heavy metal chelation and homeopathic medicines. For further discussion on CFS please go to our dedicated website.