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 CFS  Holistic-online.com

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) involves severe, at times incapacitating, fatigue. About 80 percent of the sufferers are women between the ages of 25 and 45, and the majority of them had allergies prior to the onset of CFS. However, anyone, even a child, is susceptible.

Even though CFS is not life-threatening, it can result in serious damage to the immune system. Some people appear to recover spontaneously, but once you have had this condition, it can recur at any time, usually following a bout with another illness or during times of stress.

Not until recent years have most physicians recognized it as a true illness. It was assumed that patients complaining of this syndrome were either depressed or hypochondriacs. However, in 1988 the Centers for Disease Control (CDS) in the United States officially recognized the existence of CFS as an actual disease. It is still not clear whether CFS is a specific condition, several related conditions, or a group of symptoms that can't be attributed to any particular cause. CFS is so often misdiagnosed that there are no accurate estimates of its prevalence.

Old Disease, New Name

CFS has probably been around for centuries, although known under different names such as:

The vapors - in the eighteenth century
Soldier's heart - suffered by World War I veterans. 
Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS)
Chronic Epstein-Barr virus (CEBV) syndrome
Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)
Postviral Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic mononucleosis
Icelandic Disease
Royal Free Disease
Yuppie Flue

Medical researchers have sought in vain to find a single cause for CFS, at times attempting to link CFS to Epstein-Barr virus, candidiasis, and herpes viruses. Alternative practitioners, on the other hand, believe that CFS is caused by multiple simultaneous infections which must be treated individually, while building up overall immune defenses. Another theory is that stress affects the immune system, leaving it susceptible to an autoimmune disorder.

Many alternative practitioners believe that CFS results from combined infectious conditions. They base this argument on the fact that CFS victims appear to suffer from several ongoing, simultaneous infections that weaken the immune system. They take issue with the conventional medicine's preoccupation with finding a single cause for this syndrome. They suggest that in CFS, we often get hidden, concomitant parasite, yeast, and viral infections indicating a weakened immune system. One infection puts demand on the immune system which can't kick it, and another infection may join in, leading from one to another in a domino effect. 
Of course, there is considerable disagreement on the multiple infection theory. Most experts agree that the immune system is compromised in case of CFS. When that happens, it is fair game for various viruses and infections to attack the victim. So, if one looks at CFS this way, it is questionable whether the viruses are the root cause for CFS. What is quite clear is that CFS is multidimensional. Several factors contribute to it and, to be successful, it needs to be treated holistically.

Next Topic: Symptoms

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