A condition where typical exertions cause unbearable fatigue that is not alleviated by having a rest, chronic fatigue syndrome puzzled many physicians for decades. There are identified triggers, and its diagnosis demands extensive trials administered by a medical expert.
Chronic fatigue syndrome or CFS causes unrelenting exhaustion that affects daily life and does not go away with rest or sleep.
The disease is also called ME, which means encephalomyelitis. There are some debates over the appropriate term to use for the condition. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious disease that can cause long-standing illness and disability, but many individuals, predominantly kids and young people can improve over time.
An estimated 250,000 people in the United Kingdom are affected by CFS. Anyone can have it, even if it is more common in women than men. It normally develops when individuals are in their early 20s to mid-40s. It can also affect kids usually when they are in between the ages of 13 and 15.
Most chronic fatigue syndrome cases are mild or moderate. Nonetheless, 1 out of 4 CFS patients is experiencing severe symptoms. In mild condition, a person is capable of taking care of himself, but may need rest days from work. Those who have moderate symptoms may have reduced mobility and may have troubled sleep patterns. CFS in severe form will allow a patient to perform minimal daily tasks, but have considerably reduced mobility and have difficulty focusing.
There is no known cause of chronic fatigue syndrome. Yet, there are various theories like a viral infection, immune system problems, and hormonal problems. Likewise, some believe that psychiatric issues like emotional trauma and stress cause CFS. Some individuals are believed to be more vulnerable to the disease because of their genetic makeup, as it is more common for several families.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued specific guidelines for the chronic fatigue syndrome’s diagnosis and management.
According to the NICE, a diagnosis of CFS should be considered if a patient meets some criteria regarding their fatigue. For instance, a person has problems in terms of sleeping, thinking and concentrating.
If a patient experiences these symptoms for a couple of months, then a diagnosis can be confirmed.
Usually, the CFS treatment reduces the symptoms. But, every patient reacts to treatment differently, the treatment plan should be tailored especially for a particular patient.
Some of the most common treatments include a CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), a graded exercise therapy, and medication to manage nausea, pain and sleeping problems.
Most CFS patients improve eventually, even though some people do not make a full recovery. In addition, it is expected that there will be moments when the symptoms get worse or better. Children and young people suffering from this condition are inclined to recover completely.
At present, for the very first time, researchers announce that they have classified biological markers of chronic fatigue syndrome in gut bacteria. They also identified inflammatory agents in the human blood. The researchers from Cornell University discovered something very important providing some relief to people suffering from this disease.
The team illustrates how they accurately diagnosed myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) in 83% of patients. They conducted stool samples and blood work, which provided a “non-invasive” diagnosis. This gives a step toward comprehending the cause of this disease.
The work of the Cornell University researchers reveals that the gut bacteria microbiome in the patients is not normal, conceivably leading to inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome victims.
According to Maureen Hanson, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Cornell, their detection of a biological abnormality offers further indication against the preposterous notion that the chronic fatigue syndrome is psychological in origin. Prof. Hanson said that their work shows that the microbiome in people with CFS is not normal.
The senior author of this study added that sooner or later, the world could see this technique as a balance to other noninvasive diagnoses. But, if only we have a greater concept of what is really going on with these gut microbes and victims, perhaps physicians could mull over changing diets. The first author of the study, Ludovic Giloteaux , agreed to the idea. He added that the use of prebiotics like probiotics or dietary fibers will be introduced to help cure the condition.
In a collaboration between Ithaca campus researchers and Dr. Susan Levine, they asked for the participation of 48 individuals diagnosed with ME/CFS and 39 healthy controls to give stool and blood samples. Dr. Levine is an ME/CFS specialist in New York City.
They arranged microbial DNA’s regions from the stool samples to classify different kinds of bacteria. On the whole, the multiplicity of types of bacteria was significantly lower and there were lesser bacterial species acknowledged to be anti-inflammatory in ME/CFS patients compared with healthy individuals, a similar observation also spotted in ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease patients.
In addition, the researchers saw specific inflammation markers in the blood, possibly due to a permeable gut from intestinal issues that let bacteria enter the blood. Bacteria found in blood will prompt an immune response, which could just worsen the symptoms.
Unfortunately, the researchers were unable to gather evidence to differentiate whether the altered gut microbiome is a consequence of the disease or a cause. But the breakthrough, even with the fact that it was only found on a small sample, it is very important for 2 main reasons.
Foremost, the indicators could be included in the future to help analyze the condition, as they were found in 83% of the CFS patients. Second, the finding indicates that diet and stuff like probiotics may be a solution to help cure the disease by getting the gut microbiome back into stability.
In the future, the research team of Cornell University will search for solid evidence of viruses and fungi present in the gut. This is their way to find out whether one of these or a connection of these along with bacteria be contributing or causing the chronic fatigue syndrome.