It's tough to live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), a debilitating condition that constantly leaves you feeling exhausted.
While there is no cure for CFS, there are treatment options available that can help improve your quality of life. Here are seven treatments worth exploring if you suffer from CFS.
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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (commonly known as CFS) is a chronic condition; we're not sure what causes it, and it's life-changing; some people end up on disability support due to it.
There are treatment options for people who suffer from CFS. But the fact is, none of them are known to cure you.
It's not a made-up condition, and it's not pretending, although some people who claim to have had it and have cured it are often out to make a buck off the condition and never had it at all. But there is also a possibility that it goes into remission for some. We don't know.
Everyone who has CFS knows someone who says they have it, and they still work 40 hours a week and consider you lazy for not doing the same. They probably don't have it, though.
The best way to treat your CFS is the way that feels right for you. But don't get discouraged if something doesn't work right away. Give anything you try at least 30 days to see if you find a real difference.
1. CONSIDER A MITOCHONDRIAL FUNCTION TEST
This test is difficult, invasive, and costly. You may not be able to do it. But it can be worth it if you've tried everything else and nothing is showing up. A small piece of your thigh muscle tissue is taken, which doesn't cause damage to your thigh but does leave a scar.
This test will show if you have a problem processing energy to function normally or not. If you have a problem, you'll know to take extra vitamins and get screened for issues that affect people with mitochondrial disorders like thyroid disease and diabetes.
2. EAT A HEALTHY WHOLE-FOOD DIET
When you have CFS, your best defense is a good diet.
But remember that for everyone, a good diet is different. It's a good idea to get tested for allergies to find out if you have any issues with certain foods like wheat. There is no reason to give up wheat unless you have a problem with it.
Looking at most healthy diets with scholarly studies backing them up, they all have one thing in common. Eat whole foods that are not processed.
Whether you eat meat or choose not to, there are many choices within whole, unprocessed foods to choose from.
Focus on reducing processed food like white flour and white sugar in your diet. Don't eat additives or artificial ingredients that don't offer any nutritional support.
Focus most of your food on high nutrition so that you can get as many of the macro and micronutrients you need from your diet.
In addition, it can help to educate yourself on what the human body needs each day to thrive. If you need support in doing this, consider a consultation with a Dietician and Nutritional Therapist.
3. DEVELOP AN EXERCISE PLAN
Even though you're tired, you need to move, but you need to move intelligently. You may not do as much as you want, but doing something each day will help. It would help if you started at your level, set your intentions, and build up gradually.
But do not do strenuous exercise; instead, focus on keeping your muscles strong and gaining the flexibility you need to live your daily life.
Since muscle weakness is a severe problem for people with CFS, consider doing muscle-strengthening exercises instead of exercises that use a lot of energy.
Using resistance bands is a great way to be gentle. Starting a Pilates course or yoga practice is also a great way to exercise without overexerting yourself.
Some days you may only be able to walk to your mailbox, while some days, you'll feel as if you can do more. Just do one thing each day and build from there. If you do something that makes your condition worse, stop doing it.
Make sure you also rest. Some people with CFS have jobs, so you still want to get enough rest to do your job. Strengthen the muscles you need for your career in a gentle way and focus on getting the type of rest you need so that you can keep doing that job.
4. ESTABLISH A SLEEP REGIMEN
Make this your special time to sleep and not focus on anything else but sleep. Invest in comfortable pajamas, soft sheets, and a perfect mattress for your needs. Get blackout blinds on your windows to make sure your room is dark.
Set your alarm to give you only 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. You want to avoid oversleeping as much as you want to prevent under-sleeping.
In some cases, people with depression do best on about six hours of sleep, so you may want to test this idea out for CFS by trying different amounts of time.
It may also help you to take a hot bath or meditate before bed to clear your mind and fall asleep faster.
5. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
Throughout the day, drink plenty of fresh, filtered water so that you stay hydrated. Most people do well on eight to ten 8-oz glasses of water a day. The trick is to drink it throughout the day, preferably not with meals. Watering down the food in your stomach can impede digestion.
If you drink all day long, you're going to be more likely to get the required amount down, digest your food better, and have overall better digestion.
6. TAKE VITAMINS THAT YOU NEED
You've likely had blood tests by now that indicate your vitamin levels. Take the vitamins as recommended by your primary care physician. In most cases, people only need B12 and D3, but if you have a lot of muscle pain, some people need magnesium. It's important to talk to your doctor before adding these vitamins.
7. LEARN TO PACE YOURSELF
Pacing yourself is accepting your condition and not overdoing things just because you feel good today. Pacing yourself while paying close attention to how you feel and other health issues you may have often helped you cope with the condition. Of course, learning to deal with other conditions helps too.
For example, suppose you're having issues with drugs, weight issues, or other health concerns. In that case, it's essential to understand that CFS causes not all problems.
However, they may have manifested because of your condition - especially regarding drugs and self-medicating. Other health issues should be examined independently, which will help with your overall health.
The important thing is to get started treating yourself better right now.
Don't be afraid of change, even if your family and friends don't understand. Instead, find supportive professionals and do what you need to help yourself. You are the best judge of your health. You're also the best advocate you have.
If you don't have CFS but you know someone who does, you can be a support person for them in a world that may not understand that CFS is real. Please offer your support to help them in some way.
Help with basic life care can go a long way, for example, cooking them dinner, helping fold laundry occasionally, and helping with grocery shopping. It can also be incredibly supportive of going for walks and being a diet buddy for someone with chronic fatigue syndrome.