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Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is not really a disease but describes a symptom for which there are many possible causes. Some of these causes include abnormalities in brain chemistry, which are treated with tyrosine, phenylalanine, and sometimes antidepressants; or seizure disorders, which are treated with anticonvulsants; anxiety disorders, which are treated with CES devices and psychotherapy; immune disorders treated through brain chemistry or allergy treatments; anemia; diabetes; thyroid and endocrinology conditions; abnormalities in the adrenal gland; infectious causes that need to be treated with antibiotics, such as Lyme Disease; rare neurological causes
such as M.S. and Alzheimer's disease; or encephalopathy treated with medications. Most chronic fatigue patients tend to have a brain biochemical imbalance, which can be treated through a combination of natural and/or drug therapies. Chronic fatigue is a treatable condition and in most individuals has a primary biochemical basis in which counselling can be helpful as a support, but will not successfully treat the condition. What is CFS? CFS is defined by major, minor and physical criteria. The definition requires (1) both of two major criteria, many of 11 minor criteria, and two or three physical criteria; or, (2) two major criteria and eight minor criteria.
Major criteria are:
--New onset of persistent or relapsing fatigue, with no previous history, which does not resolve with bed rest and is severe enough to reduce or impair average daily activity to less than 50 percent for six months.
--Exclusion of other clinical conditions that may produce similar symptoms by a thorough evaluation, including the history, physical examination and appropriate laboratory tests.
Minor criteria (symptoms) are:
--Painful cervical or axillary lymph nodes.
--Unexplained generalized muscle weakness.
--Muscle discomfort or myalgia.
--Prolonged (24 hours or longer) generalized fatigue after levels of exercise that would have previously been easily tolerated by the patient.
--Generalized headaches different from those that may have previously occurred.
--Migratory arthralgia without joint swelling or redness.
--Neuropsychologic complaints, which may include photophobia, visual scotomata, forgetfulness, irritability, confusion, difficulty in thinking, and depression.
--Sleep disturbance (hypersomnia or insomnia).
--Initial development of the main symptom complex over a few hours or a few days.
Physical criteria, which must be documented by a physician on at least two occasions that are at least one month apart, are:
Palpable or tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes.
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