Imagine feeling exhausted after walking two blocks, having chronic sore throats, muscle and joint pain. Imagine your head feels full of wet sand and when you try to read, words swim on the page. Imagine feeling heavy and sluggish after a nights sleep, and imagine that these ailments last for years. These are just a few of the symptoms associated with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, betters known as CFS, a serious and disabling illness that affects an estimated 800,000 persons a year. .
CFS considered one of the most chronic illnesses of our time and one of the most misunderstood. Although its name trivializes the illness as little more than mere tiredness, CFS brings with it a multitude of symptoms. People with the illness have a complex multi-symptom illness, showing abnormalities in the immune, neurological and endocrine systems. The fatigue of a person with CFS is nothing like the fatigue a healthy person feels because of a busy life. People severely ill with CFS have a functional level that is significantly lower than that of someone with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, someone with heart disease or multiple sclerosis. New research also shows that the illness can involve significant transient (opposite of permanent) brain damage. Brain scans have revealed lesions in people with the illness as well as decreased blood flow to their cerebrum and mid-brain. People with CFS often have symptoms similar to a concussion: brain fog, confusion, memory loss and difficulty processing sensory input. A simple trip to the grocery can be an exhausting experience as the brain tries to process all the light, noise and movement. .
CFS normally characterized by profound exhaustion and extremely poor stamina, along with problems with concentration and short-term memory loss, but often includes flu-like symptoms such as pain in the joints and muscles, un-refreshing sleep, tender lymph nodes, sore throat and headache.