This condition is known by many different names, which contribute to some of the confusion that this illness causes when you try to learn more about it.
CFS is how it is most commonly referred to, which is short for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as being known by the names of M.E. and Post-Viral Fatigue syndrome.
Since there is still no official test for Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome, your medical practitioner will first have to rule out the many other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, like anemia, before they can diagnose you with CFS
The signs and symptoms of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome vary from person to person, which makes it a bit more difficult to diagnose, even though most doctors are now better educated about and aware of the condition than in the past.
Most people who experience the most common symptom of fatigue initially put it down to just “being run down” or having a dose of the flu, as the symptoms are similar to both.
But what is distinct with CFIDS is that this is not just a case of being tired from a bout of insomnia, or just feeling sleepy. Instead this is a total lack of energy, which can go on for years, chronically feeling totally wiped out like when you are bedridden with a bad case of influenza, every day you wake up to start the day.
Most doctors will require this state of fatigue to have been ongoing for at least 6 months duration before it is counted as a true symptom.
Another symptom is the after effect that you experience when you have pushed yourself too far physically, doing more than your body could handle.
This is common for people with CFS to experience, because as soon as you have a ‘good day’ of reduced fatigue there is a tendency to rush about and try to catch up on all the chores and tasks that have been left undone.
While you may feel able to cope at the time of the activity, once you are done the effect of overexertion hits and you experience old fashioned malaise, where you simply can’t get out of bed or take any of the actions most people take for granted every day.
The next most debilitating symptom of CFIDS is a state of mental confusion and lack of ability to focus on anything for very long, often referred to as “brain fog” by people who experience it.
This is the symptom that affects people even when they are not in physically demanding jobs, if their work requires concentration for long periods and needs them to stay focused on multiple tasks at one time, they will often find themselves unable to keep their jobs for long.
There are other less obvious or signs and symptoms of CFIDS which include:
- Experiencing sleep disorders, maybe sleeping less because of disruptions, or sleeping more because you cannot get out of bed with any energy.
- Muscles can ache and your joints can become painful, for no reason, even without extra exertion to cause it
- You may begin to experience headaches unlike ones you have experienced before.
- Increased sensitivity to stimulants like light, noise or smells, that never used to cause you discomfort.
- It is very common that you begin to develop a sore throat, even a dry cough at times, and swellings/sensitivity in your lymph nodes.
- More than usual Depression and increased stress can be experienced, but is often a side effect of your exhaustion.
- You may experience heightened anxiety levels, and fears about your ability to recover from this state of malaise.
These most common symptoms and signs of chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome may however also be an indication of other diseases, so you cannot self-diagnose yourself with CFS.
Only your doctor or specialist in the CFIDS field can conduct the tests to eliminate other diseases (some of which could be life threatening) so that you have a clear diagnosis to being treatment from.
The good news is that more and more medical practitioners are now better informed about this illness and more likely to correctly identify the condition than they were even 10 years ago.