What is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Symptoms and Treatment

Shortly before marrying, a fever of 40 degrees left Jennifer Brea in bed; seemed a cold, but since then his health deteriorated to the point that he could not stand. She suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (or myalgic encephalomyelitis), which affects the world between 15 and 30 million people, mostly women.

“Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complex disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can not be attributed to any preexisting condition. Fatigue can worsen with physical or mental activity, but does not improve with rest , ” according to the Mayo Clinic.

Iron Deficiency Anemia: Symptoms and Treatment

In many cases like that of Jennifer, fatigue and discomfort are so extreme that they are disabling, to the extent that seven out of 10 people with the syndrome can not work or have a normal life.Even more serious is that millions of people who suffer from undiagnosed. In fact, it is estimated that 80 to 90% of people who have it do not have a diagnosis, causing them to be stigmatized, as if the disease was only in his imagination.

“It’s in your head”

When Brea went to the doctor in Los Angeles, USA, the responses received was that the disease was at its head.

He confined to her bed, she began to search the Internet more cases like hers, and found them. He also began videotaping the symptoms suffered day after day.

The result was the documentary Unrest , premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2017 and available on Netflix. In the film, Brea and her husband documented cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome worldwide: women who have lived for years inside a room, reclining on a bed; no strength to move and suffering pain.

In Mexico there are no official figures on how many people suffer from the syndrome. There are doctors who believe that “are the diagnoses that nobody wants to do because it is difficult to support.” As a syndrome, ie, a set of symptoms that can occur in different diseases, “no laboratory tests or microorganisms to hold only the patient’s symptoms, which can not be measured and depend entirely on their perception” .


The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is not determined, but experts have theorized ranging from viral infections to psychological stress, or a combination of factors, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“No single test can confirm a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome. It is possible that a variety of medical tests to rule out other health problems that have similar symptoms are needed,” he adds.


  • Fatigue / tiredness
  • Memory loss or concentration
  • Sore throat
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or armpits
  • Joint or muscle pain with no apparent cause
  • Headaches
  • no sleep
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise

Possible causes

Take a lot of ibuprofen and prolonged reduced male fertility

viral infections

It has been found that some people who have developed chronic fatigue syndrome suffered before viral infection. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, among the suspected viruses they are the Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6 and leukemia viruses mouse, but has not found a conclusive link.

Immune system problems

The immune system of people with chronic fatigue syndrome appears to be slightly affected, but it is unclear whether this decline is sufficient to cause the disorder.

hormonal imbalances

People with chronic syndrome fatigue sometimes also have abnormal blood levels of hormones produced in the hypothalamus, the pituitary or adrenal glands, the document stresses Mayo Clinic. But the importance of these abnormalities remains unknown.

If you have experienced persistent and extreme tiredness, despite not making excessive physical activity, consult your doctor. According to an expert consulted by HuffPost, the first option is to approach a general practitioner and then a rheumatologist; psychiatric care will also be required.

In 2014, the Iztacala FES, UNAM, published a manual to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome . Of it, the specialists who developed indicated that “the clinical approach becomes important in treatment, thus highlighting the need for a multidisciplinary intervention”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *