Chronic fatigue syndrome, or CFS, is a debilitating illness that can significantly impact your work and home life. It’s also challenging to diagnose this condition because it looks very similar to other conditions, such as hypothyroidism, stress, or depression. That’s why we offer chronic fatigue testing and treatment at Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY, to help recover your energy levels back and lead a healthy lifestyle.
How Do You Test for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
Understand What It Is
Chronic fatigue syndrome, also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a chronic and complex disease where you have difficulty in physical activities due to extreme tiredness. It can affect multiple body systems, including the nervous system, brain, hormones, immune system, or gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms vary from person to person, but some of the common ones are fatigue that doesn’t improve with rest or sleep, muscle pain, and cognitive impairment.
What Test Is Like
There is no specific test to diagnose CFS, so it can be challenging for doctors. Doctors usually use the functional medicine approach, where they look at the symptoms and test to see how well your body is functioning. This approach also helps them understand what’s causing the problem so that therapies can be targeted specifically for them.
Some of the common tests done include saliva or blood testing to check on adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities testing, endocrine health tests, external stressors, and more.
Saliva or Blood Testing to Check on Adrenal Fatigue
This testing looks at the levels of cortisol and DHEA in your body, which can give a better understanding of how your adrenals are functioning. If they’re low, it might show that you have fatigue or tiredness because your adrenals aren’t doing their job effectively to produce energy.
Low blood sugar may also be an indicator if you tend to feel fatigued after meals or experience brain fog due to hypoglycemia (low glucose). These symptoms definitely indicate that there’s some stress going on with the endocrine system.
Food Sensitives Test
These tests will measure the blood’s reaction to different foods and chemicals (i.e., natural vs. artificial dyes). If you have any sort of allergy or intolerance, this testing might help determine what those are so that you can begin removing them from your diet.
Endocrine Health Test
These tests look for any abnormalities in the thyroid, adrenals, and reproductive organs. They also look for any hormone imbalances, including estrogen dominance. This is a very important test because it can help determine what’s going on with your body and why you may feel the way that you do. If there are abnormalities in these tests’ results, then your doctor will focus your treatment plan specifically on those systems and organs first.
External Stressors Test
This looks for heavy metals, chemicals, and anything else that may be negatively impacting your system. If your doctor finds a high amount of anything particularly stressful to the body, they will put you on an elimination diet and supplement program.
Hormonal Imbalances Test
This test looks for any of the many hormonal imbalances that can be linked to chronic fatigue syndrome. This test can show if you’re deficient in some of the following: Vitamin D, estrogen/progesterone/testosterone levels, cortisol, or other stress-related hormone imbalances.
With these tests done, your doctor will know exactly what the next steps should be, which ultimately leads us down a more effective path towards recovery with less trial and error along the way. So, while CFS may seem like an overwhelming diagnosis at first glance – rest assured there’s hope as long as diagnosis and treatment are accurately made.
There are many symptoms of CFS, and the ones listed below are just some of the most common ones. Tell your doctor if you believe you may be experiencing any of these because help is available if the syndrome is caught early enough. The main symptom, though, is extreme fatigue that doesn’t go away.
Other symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Trouble sleeping or sleep disturbances
- Irregular or fast heartbeat
- Feeling dizzy
- Sore throat
- Flu-like symptoms
- Coughing at night.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, and multitasking
- Blurred vision or light sensitivity
Causes of CFS
There’s no known cause of CFS, but there are some theories. It could be triggered by an infectious virus or other infection, which causes it to become chronic and last for years after the initial infection is gone. It’s possible that several ailments can come together in order to form this disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus erythematosus, Lyme disease, and even cancer.
Some people also believe it may be caused by stress or trauma. More common triggers include hormonal imbalance, such as with the thyroid gland, and nutrient deficiencies.
The treatment of CFS is a multifaceted approach. It includes medication, physical therapy, lifestyle change, and psychological support from the patient’s loved ones. The first step to effective treatment is detoxification, which your doctor may refer to as a “liver cleanse.”
Detoxification is the process of removing toxins from your body. The longer you have been exposed to a toxin, the more intense detoxification treatments need to be for it to work properly and begin recovery efforts.
In addition, this will help improve liver function, allowing it to better filter out other chemicals in our bodies that can contribute to fatigue symptoms such as pain killers or blood sugar medications like insulin, among others.
This is an important aspect of treatment. Patients must be taught various ways to induce relaxation, rest periods, and coping with the pain that may accompany this disease, like headaches. Physical therapy exercises can help reduce fatigue for patients who feel anxious or stressed out often due to their condition. There are various ways to perform physical therapy, including deep breathing, muscle relaxation, and resting.
It’s very useful for CFS patients to have a strong support network of family and friends. Groups with people who are experiencing similar problems can also be really helpful. These groups usually consist of peers who push one another towards positive action, success stories, or healthy living tips. There is no shortage of information on the internet about available support groups or counseling services that offer help specifically with this condition.
Talking about what you’re feeling is an integral part of healing from any emotional ailment–and it’s especially true in cases like CFS, where society already has negative stigmas against physical illness. Sometimes simply speaking your feelings out loud helps put them into perspective; more often than not, they seem less serious once spoken aloud.
A lifestyle change is essential for beating CFS. It will require a lot of discipline, but it’s worth it if you are committed to recovering your energy levels back. The first step that needs to be taken is reducing or eliminating all stimulants from the diet, including sugar and caffeine.
Next up would need to be adopting an anti-inflammatory way of eating plan, which includes plenty of whole grains and greens while limiting red meat intake and processed food consumption as much as possible. Also, always stay hydrated. Keep drinking water throughout the day so that cells can flush out toxins faster than usual (which tends to happen when we’re stressed). Also, try incorporating high-water content foods into your meals, such as cucumbers, celery, and watermelon.
Diet Hacks to Reduce Symptoms
A healthy diet is crucial in reducing the severity of symptoms. Filling up on nutrient-dense foods will help you get all the nutrients your body needs to fight off any infections and repair itself from fatigue–so always aim for a balanced plate.
6 Natural Remedies
There’re several natural remedies available. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and probiotics. Many supplements are also available that can help relieve the symptoms in some people. These remedies include:
1. Essential Fatty Acids
Several studies have shown that people with this condition tend to have lower levels of essential fatty acids. Omega-six and omega-three are two types of EFAs that can be taken as supplements to help relieve some symptoms. A good source for these is cold-water fish like sardines or tuna. Other sources include flaxseed oil, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. It helps the body deal with stress, and it has been shown to improve energy levels in some people, reduce anxiety, and ease depression symptoms. A six-month course at the end of treatment will likely restore normal melatonin production by itself, but if problems persist, then supplementation might need to continue indefinitely.
Ginkgo biloba may help with both fatigue and depression symptoms. It has been thought to improve small blood vessel function, which can lead to better oxygen delivery throughout the body. If you have a history of gastrointestinal problems, then reduce your dose accordingly, as gingko causes nausea if too much is consumed on an empty stomach.
4. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is the enzyme responsible for energy production in mitochondria. This can be supplemented to boost the immune system and improve fatigue symptoms, but it is not recommended if you are pregnant or have bipolar disorder.
5. Licorice Extract
Licorice extract can be used to boost energy levels. Licorice can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and to protect the adrenal glands. It’s safe enough when consumed in normal doses, but it could cause high blood pressure if you take too much, so always consult your doctor before use.
6. Siberian Ginseng
This herb can be used to boost energy levels, but it’s also a great anti-inflammatory and immune system booster. It is safe enough when consumed in normal doses, so this shouldn’t cause an issue unless your doctor says otherwise.
Treat Your Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Testing for chronic fatigue syndrome is definitely recommended and certainly helps to diagnose the condition. After testing is completed, a few different treatments can be used, including medication, getting plenty of rest, and natural remedies. To learn more about this condition and treatment options available for you, contact us at Medical Transformation Center in Louisville, KY today.