| Article Summary:
Between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). This illness leads to incapacitating fatigue that isn't improved by rest and can lead to a decrease in physical activity and stamina.
What Is Chronic Fatigue?
In order to be diagnosed with CFS, a patient must meet the following criteria:
- Have severe chronic fatigue of six months or longer duration with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis.
- Concurrently have four or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory or concentration; sore throat; tender lymph nodes; muscle pain; multi-joint pain without swelling or redness; headaches of a new type, pattern or severity; unrefreshing sleep; and post-exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours.
Malaise is a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an "out of sorts" feeling, often the first indication of an infection or other disease.
CFS varies from person to person with some people maintaining fairly active lives and others who find that their lives are seriously affected by this syndrome. Typical symptoms include:
- Difficulties with memory and concentration.
- Problems with sleep.
- Persistent muscle pain.
- Joint pain (without redness or swelling).
- Tender lymph nodes.
- Increased malaise (fatigue and sickness) following exertion.
- Sore throat.
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Some People Might Find That Their Lives
Are Seriously Affected By This Syndrome.
Other symptoms associated with CFS include:
- Irritable bowel.
- Depression or psychological problems (irritability, mood swings, etc.).
- Chills and night sweats.
- Visual disturbances (blurring, sensitivity to light, eye pain).
- Allergies or sensitivities to foods, odors, chemicals, medications or noise.
- Brain fog (feeling like you're in a mental fog).
- Difficulty holding an upright position, dizziness, balance problems or fainting.
- Abdominal pain.
- Alcohol intolerance.
- Chest pain.
- Chronic cough.
- Dry eyes or mouth.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Jaw pain.
- Morning stiffness.
- Night sweats.
- Shortness of breath.
CFS will indeed impair a person's life to some degree. However, you may experience alternating periods of illness in between cycles of feeling good.
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How Bodybuilding Can Help Fight Chronic Fatigue
Though CFS can impair a person's life, bodybuilding can help:
- Bodybuilders Fix What Isn't Right: As a bodybuilder you have taught yourself to face challenges head on. So when symptoms start flaring up or you just don't feel right, you never hesitate but instead call your physician right away.
The sooner you seek treatment for CFS, the greater the likelihood that this illness will resolve. Even if you think you have CFS but you aren't positive, seeking treatment may uncover other treatable medical conditions.
- Bodybuilders Exercise: Sure, CFS may limit what you can do physically but you know how to find other types of physical activity that help you cope and heel. Aquatic therapy, yoga and tai chi all help you continue to build your body while also helping you manage your CFS.
- Bodybuilding Helps You Feel Good: Regardless of what type of exercise you do - from lifting weights to walking or gentle water aerobics, fitting something in when you can is important.
CFS patients may suffer from secondary depression or a case of the blues from time to time. And, as a bodybuilder, you know that exercise always makes you feel better, physically and mentally.
- Bodybuilding Helps Your Memory: Many CFS patients find that their memory and concentration starts to fade to some degree.
Exercise can actually help you enhance your memory (this is one reason it is always recommended for helping prevent dementia). As a bodybuilder you realize that the value of moving your body extends way beyond just building a better body.
Additional Tips To Help You Manage CFS
- Join a support group. By talking to other CFS patients, you may learn more ways to cope with this syndrome and also make new friends who understand what you are going through.
- Try gentle massage, meditation, deep breathing, biofeedback.
- Talk to your physician about managing your specific symptoms.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. And, CFS is one of those curve balls that should be hit head on. As a bodybuilder you've developed the mental toughness to forge forward and manage your symptoms while maintaining a positive outlook.
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About The Author:
Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped Olympic athletes, NFL-bound athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com. For more information see:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CDC. http://www.cdc.gov/CFS/