"Dead tired" - a phrase that vividly describes patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Not clear and scary. Modern people are increasingly faced with this definition of the state.
The rapid growth of the information environment causes increased emotional and mental stress. Paradoxically, the development of technology not only makes life easier, but also provokes previously unknown diseases. Residents of large cities are at special risk; people engaged in mental work or work associated with increased responsibility; perfectionists who are highly demanded to themselves and others. The disease most often occurs in the age of 40-60 years old, but symptoms of chronic fatigue can develop even in a child. Women get sick more often. Perhaps men are not ready to share such problems with experts and do not talk about similar complaints.
Medical scientists have not yet come to a consensus: to consider a state of constant fatigue a disease or a simulation of the disease. After all, the diagnosis is difficult, the symptoms are nonspecific and similar to the manifestations of many neurological diseases. It is impossible to confirm the diagnosis in the laboratory or instrumentally, it remains to rely only on patient complaints. However, the term chronic fatigue syndrome as the name originated in 1984. At this time in Nevada, Dr. Paul Cheney recorded mass complaints of patients with weakness, fatigue, fatigue and drowsiness. Four years later, more than 100000 patients were diagnosed with CFS. According to statistics, 2% of the world's population, which is about 120-140 million people have a syndrome of fatigue and similar symptoms.
Outside, chronic fatigue syndrome may not become apparent, and such people do not look sick. At the same time, the usual rhythm of life is disturbed: patients cannot do daily tasks normally, think clearly, concentrate, go to work, participate in public life. There is an emotional burnout, which is accompanied by physical weakness. There were cases when a person in this state could not get out of bed and leave the house.
Thus, a generalized definition: chronic fatigue syndrome is a set of symptoms characterized by incurable fatigue, reduced working ability in previously healthy people for at least 6 months.
The pathogenesis of the disease is not fully understood. Several theories are considered. Among them is viral cause. It has been suggested that the triggers of the disease may be viruses or antibodies to various herpes viruses (Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, Coxsackie virus and etc.).
Advocates of the immunological theory associate diseases with low IgG levels, changes in the population and function of natural killers (T cells) and other imbalances in immunity.
The cause of the disease may also be a malfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system. There is a low activity of thyroid hormones, decreased activity of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), etc.
Impaired cellular metabolism is another alternative of chronic fatigue. It is proven that carnitine deficiency leads to disorders of energy metabolism. Acylcarnitine acts as a powerful antioxidant, protects cells from various influences. Accordingly, when it is reduced, it leads to less effectiveness and worse health. A number of studies have also confirmed the presence of MRI changes in the brain image in chronic fatigue syndrome.
Other causes may include:
- frequent stress, intense rhythm of life, excessive mental or physical exertion, emotional overload;
- intestinal imbalance with varying degrees of deviation in the content of intestinal bacteria;
- chronic diseases or influences that weaken the body: anesthesia, radiation exposure, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. By the way, the constant electromagnetic influence when working at the computer or with the smartphone can also be a provoking factor;
- unfavorable environmental situation. Residents of large cities with high speed of life, high noise and pollution are at risk;
- unbalanced monotonous diet;
- lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle;
- sleep and wakefulness disorders;
- long-term therapy with a certain group of medicinal products;
- unsatisfactory quality of life: lack of complete rest, walk outdoors, change of environment, positive emotions.
Fatigue is the body's natural response to stress. This condition occurs in everyone. But the main difference between normal fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome is that neither sleep nor rest brings relief. The person constantly feels not rested and broken.
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome also complain of:
- chronic weakness, faintness and flabbiness;
- sleep disorders, problem with falling asleep and waking up, episodes of drowsiness during the day;
- increased irritability, excitability, outbursts of anger or periods of apathy, often depressed;
- reduced working ability, inability to do daily tasks, memory impairment, distracted attention;
- unexplained headaches, soreness in muscles and joints;
- signs of inflammation: low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes (cervical, axillary or other), chronic pharyngitis;
- predisposition to allergies, hypersensitivity to alcohol and certain medicinal products; .
- vegetative-endocrine disorders, such as arrhythmia, changes in body weight, decreased appetite, constant weakness, urinary incontinence
Thus, the diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome must identify the presence of both physical and psycho-emotional symptoms. It is important to consult a doctor timely to rule out pathology of the central nervous and endocrine systems. The disease can develop slowly and last for years. Remember, the earlier you start treatment, the better your chances of recovery.
There are no generally accepted norms of treatment yet. Each clinic has established its own standards. But approaches have already been developed that show good results. Drug therapy will help the doctor to relieve pain or nervous tension, but the main effort should be directed to eliminate the causes.
An important point is a change in lifestyle. It is necessary to normalize the schedule of rest and exercise. Try to go to bed at the same time, you need to sleep at least 6 - 8 hours. "Sleep and youth" hormone, melatonin is active when you're sleeping and in the dark time. In a healthy body, the production of melatonin begins between 20:00 and 22:00, i.e. about 2 hours before the usual bedtime, and the peak concentration of the substance is between midnight and 4 a.m. Melatonin not only helps to fall asleep, but also ensures adequate sleep. This hormone has antioxidant, immunomodulatory, antidepressant action, slows down the aging process, regulates the function of the endocrine system. Melatonin also has a positive effect on the nervous system, normalizes body temperature. A number of studies have shown successful results in the addition of melatonin to the treatment regimen of patients with COVID-19. Everyone knows that if we sleep well, we become calmer and more efficient and capable.
The following tips will also help you to establish a sleep routine:
- do not overeat in the evening, give up heavy meals a few hours before sleep;
- an hour before sleep, give up gadgets: TV, tablet, phone only excite the nervous system;
- take a relaxing bath with essential oils;
- leave problems on paper, write exciting thoughts on a piece of paper to clear your head of thoughts;
- it is beneficial to drink tea with mint, chamomile, lemon balm;
- dim the light to signal that the body is about to rest.
It is necessary to improve the usual house-work route. Walking outdoors, especially before sleep, will help to balance the nervous system; moderate physical activity: yoga, light dancing, running, swimming. Even a regular workout in the morning can activate the body and give a boost of vitality.
Full rest is important. Pay attention to yourself in the evenings, take a vacation 2-3 times a year, meet with friends, spend time with family on weekends. Sometimes the support of family and friends works like a charm.
Reading books, a favorite hobby, will be beneficial for the nervous system. Don't regret time for these things. Travel, walk in the woods, outdoors - such a change of scenery will not only charge with pleasant emotions, but will maintain vitality and activity.
The harms of nicotine and alcohol have long been known. So do not try to calm down with a cigarette and relax with alcohol. These are short-term changes that will not help.
Follow a diet. What is important here is not a strict diet with restrictions on certain foods, but a complete balanced diet. Vitamin C, which is found not only in citrus fruits, it is beneficial for strengthening the body. Rose hips, sweet peppers, sea buckthorn, black currants and parsley are also rich in this vitamin.
Add foods high in vitamin B: beef, veal, especially liver; legumes - soybeans, peas, lentils, beans; nuts and seeds, such as sunflower, sesame; buckwheat and barley groats. Eat wholemeal bread, eggs, fish.
Include foods that contain magnesium in your diet: brown algae, leafy vegetables and greens, bananas, wheat bran, nuts and grains. Magnesium regulates all processes of energy production and consumption in the body. Lack of magnesium causes fatigue, weakness, health breakdown.
Follow a drinking regimen. Water does not cure chronic fatigue syndrome, but maintains the balance and functioning of all body systems. Nutritionists recommend drinking 1,5-2 liters of water a day.
Avoid foods with a high degree of processing, fried foods, hydrogenated oils and beverages with high sugar content. Even many baby food products contain sugar, so always check the label.
Use homemade semi-finished products. Prepare and freeze a few extra portions. Such semiproducts come to the rescue when there is no time for a routine cooking.
Do not reduce the caloric content of foods, and do not exclude fats. Popularity of low-fat foods is not always beneficial. Fats are involved in the hormonal system, and sufficient calories are needed to maintain vitality and energy.
Eat small portions, but often. The optimal regime - eating every 3-4 hours.
Dietary fiber should be present in the menu. Herbal fiber does not provide calories, but feeds the microbiota. According to the recommendations of nutritionists, the diet should include at least 25-30 g of fiber. Dietary fiber simulates the intestinal microflora, intestines, improves intestinal absorption of vitamins and minerals, cleanses the digestive tract of harmful substances, removes excess cholesterol and maintains a normal weight. Thus, fiber prevents changes in the balance of intestinal bacteria, which, in particular, can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome.
Eat Superfood - products with high nutritional value, which contain many nutrients and elements. These include berries, fruits, vegetables, seeds, roots, algae, whole grains, legumes, nuts. Such products are definitely part of a healthy diet and as an additional component can help with chronic fatigue.
Take enough vitamin D. We have already mentioned about the benefits of walking outdoors. But in winter there are few sunny days, so include fatty fish, seafood, eggs in your diet. The main functions of this vitamin are to support the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food, increase immunity, participate in the regulation of the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Consult your doctor on taking special medicinal products containing vitamin D.
Limit your caffeine intake. One or two cups of coffee a day give a feeling of vitality, and excessive consumption can cause anxiety, tremor, tachycardia, high blood pressure. Do not get rid of chronic fatigue with energy drinks.
Methods of normalizing the psycho-emotional state, such as autogenic training, relaxation training and group psychotherapy have proven effectiveness. Autogenic training will help to recover strength, relieve physical and emotional stress, calm down quickly. Even simple exercises with fixing attention on own breath help to relax and switch over. Exercises in a group of people show an even higher rate of relief from symptoms of chronic fatigue.
The effectiveness of physiotherapy remains questionable. But magnetic therapy, hydro treatments, massage have a positive effect on maintaining health and are often used in treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Optimize physical activity. As an option, patients are offered therapeutic exercise with a gradual increase in load. Home options may include walking outdoors in any weather. This will help to quickly regain strength and saturate body with oxygen.
Treat chronic diseases. Rhinitis, nasal congestion and pharyngitis prevent the entry of oxygen into the body and cause additional stress.
Avoid stress. Do not focus on problems, communicate with positive people, feed on positive emotions.
Go through professional examinations. Only a doctor can determine the presence of a virus or latent infection and make the correct diagnosis. Any disease is easier to treat when it is found in the early stages.
Strengthen the immune system. Weaknesses can be avoided, and strength can be recovered with the help of adaptogens. Ginseng, eleutherococcus and lemongrass are traditionally used as tonics and tonics. The history of the use of these plants is significant. People have long noticed that herbal adaptogens improve well-being, relieve depression, relieve anxiety and fatigue, increase immunity . It is recommended to drink adaptogens in monthly courses with breaks of 2-4 weeks.
Take note of some peculiarities of medicinal plants.
Ginseng - stimulates mental activity and the nervous system, tonifies and strengthens the immune system. It improves the endocrine system, regulates cholesterol metabolism. But it is contraindicated in case of epilepsy and seizures, high blood pressure, acute infections. It is not recommended for children and pregnant women.
Eleutherococcus increases endurance, helps to recover faster after illness, chronic fatigue, improves mental processes. Eleutherococcus is also used in case of low blood pressure as a tonic.
Lemongrass tonifies, enhances excitation processes, increases reaction speed and effectiveness, improves memory. But in large doses it increases blood pressure and can cause sleep problems.
Rhodiola rosea also has a tonic effect. The herbal extract stimulates the central nervous system, it is used to relieve fatigue and tiredness, increases the body's resistance to stress, increases mental activity, it is effective in preventing fatigue.
Let's also consider recommendations for use of nutraceuticals. There is no single definition of this group of products. In some countries they are classified as dietary supplements, in others - as food. In summary, nutraceuticals are foods, vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts that help adjust the chemical composition of food and provide additional health benefits. These substances supplement the diet, provide the necessary macro- and micronutrients. Unlike medicinal products, nutraceuticals do not cure the disease, but are successfully added to the diet to improve quality of life, improve general condition. They are used during rehabilitation after infections, prolonged inflammatory processes. They help to prevent various body systems, remove toxins, prevent recurrence of exacerbations of chronic diseases. Nutraceuticals have a positive effect on working ability, increase strength and endurance, improve overall emotional state. Thus, they are indicated in chronic fatigue syndrome.
A number of medicinal products are also used to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. A number of studies have shown the effectiveness of L-carnitine medicinal products. This amino acid affects the transport of long-chain fatty acids, ATP synthesis and, accordingly, energy levels. Intake of L- carnitine medicinal products increases effectiveness, reduces fatigue, increases concentration. To achieve a therapeutic effect, it is necessary to take such medicinal products for 2-4 weeks.
Additionally, immunostimulants are prescribed to normalize cellular immune processes and increase overall resistance; medicinal products that affect the central nervous system (antihypoxic, antioxidant), anxiolytics and antidepressants. Most of these medicinal products are available as prescription drugs. And rightly so. Since self-medication with this group of medicinal products can lead to worsening of the condition and even greater health problems.
Treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex process that includes a change in lifestyle, active participation of the patient at all stages of treatment. The next time when you ask the question: "What to drink to relieve a chronic fatigue?" - Listen to yourself.
Periods of fatigue occur in everyone's life. It is possible that the body has exhausted resources for this period and needs to be recovered. It is important to be able to fully relax, change activities, follow a healthy lifestyle, organize a diet, periodically drink vitamins, do not drive yourself into stress, give up bad habits, and in case of problems please consult a healthcare professional. Only a doctor will be able to establish an accurate diagnosis and choose the proper therapy. Bless you!