Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis.
It is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms, but many with he condition suffer for years without a diagnosis.
In many cases, CFS is mistaken for extreme tiredness, which is considered less serious and is easily cured.
So how can you tell the difference – do you have CFS or just extreme tiredness?
The main symptoms of CFS/ME are feeling extremely tired and generally unwell, according to the NHS.
But other symptoms can include:
- Sleep problems
- Muscle or joint pain
- A sore throat or sore glands that aren’t swollen
- Problems thinking, remembering or concentrating
- Flu-like symptoms
- Feeling dizzy or sick
- Fast or irregular heartbeats (heart palpitations)
The health body adds: “Most people find overexercising makes their symptoms worse.
“The severity of symptoms can vary from day to day, or even within a day.
“The symptoms of CFS/ME are similar to the symptoms of some other illnesses, so it’s important to see your GP to get a correct diagnosis.”
There is no test for chronic fatigue syndrome, so it is diagnosed based on symptoms and ruling out any other conditions.
If you are diagnosed with CFS, treatments can include cognitive behavioural therapy – a type of talking treatment – a structured exercise programme called graded exercise therapy, and medication to control pain, nausea and sleeping problems.
If you are suffering with tiredness, the NHS also outlines self-help tips to get you feeling more awake and restore energy levels.
Eat often – this is a good way to keep up your energy through the day. You should eat regular meals and healthy snacks every three to four hours.
Get moving – regular exercise will give you an energy boost. Even if it’s just a 15 minute walk, it will help you feel less tired in the long run.
Lose weight – carrying excess weight can be exhausting and can put extra strain on tour heart making you feel more tired.
Not getting enough sleep is a logical explanation for extreme tiredness.
Problems sleeping? Making these five changes to your lifestyle (including diet) can ensure you have a good night’s rest.