Chronic fatigue syndrome is a type of extreme fatigue that can’t be explained by an underlying medical condition and is not improved by bed rest. Fatigue may worsen with any physical or mental activity. It can affect anyone; however, CFS most commonly affects women in their 40s and 50s. Women are four times more likely to develop this condition than men.
The reason for the onset and development of chronic fatigue syndrome is currently unknown at this time. It may be a combination of factors that affect people, including infectious agents, as well as physiological and psychological causes. Some patients have reported the onset of symptoms just before or immediately after getting sick with the flu or another infection. Some patients have reported that they have developed the syndrome after exposure to allergens, a period of high stress, or after a traumatic injury.
Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by several symptoms that include fatigue, loss of memory or concentration, unsatisfying sleep, extreme exhaustion, persistent joint or muscle pain, and severe headaches. Other symptoms include depression, irritability, impaired memory, and weight loss or weight gain. Treatment options vary, based on the severity of an individual’s symptoms, and are focused largely on symptom relief. Treatment can include medications, modification of sleep routines, psychological counseling, stretching and massage therapy.