A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
I had a question the other day about chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex variety of symptoms mimicking other illnesses.
The symptoms resemble those of flu and other viral infections, so it’s often mistaken for other disorders.
In fact, it’s often misdiagnosed as hypochondria, psychosomatic illness, or depression because routine medical tests don’t detect any problems.
The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome may include aching muscles and joints, anxiety, depression, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, fever, headaches, low blood pressure, intestinal problems and pain, irritability, environmental sensitivities, jaundice, loss of appetite, mood swings, muscle spasms, recurrent upper respiratory tract infections, nasal congestion, candidiasis, sensitivity to light and heat, sleep disturbances, night sweats, sore throat, swollen glands (lymph nodes) – and most of all, extreme and often disabling mental and physical fatigue.
CFS is 3 times more prevalent in women than in men, and mainly affects young adults between the ages of 20 and 50.
The cause or causes of CFS aren’t well understood, but it may be related to defects in immune function, psychological problems, or neurological problems.
Some experts believe it’s linked to infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and/or cytomegalovirus.
But, many cases of CFS happen without a preceding infection.
Other proposed causes of chronic fatigue syndrome include anemia, arthritis, chronic mercury poisoning from amalgam dental fillings, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism, infection with Candida, and sleep problems.
Fibromyalgia, a muscle disorder causing muscle weakness and fatigue, has been found in many people with CFS.
Intestinal parasites are also common in people with this condition.
It’s likely poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, thyroid dysfunction, candida, anemia, and stress all compromise your immune system, and contribute to CFS.
Even though chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t life-threatening, it can’t be cured, and it can result in serious damage to your immune system.
The major criterion used for chronic fatigue syndrome is: Persistent fatigue not resolving with bed rest and severe enough to reduce average daily activity by at least 50% for at least 6 months.
CFS shouldn’t be confused with overwork and stress.
With CFS, it’s impossible to keep a normal, active level of life and the symptoms far exceed the normal lethargy or tiredness associated with a stressful and hardworking lifestyle.
There are many medical treatments for CFS but they have mixed outcomes.
To deal with chronic fatigue syndrome it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 10 cups of purified water daily to hydrate and flush toxins.
*Astragalus and echinacea enhance immune function and are good for cold and flu symptoms. (Don’t use astragalus if your have a fever. Don’t take echinacea for longer than 3 months or if allergic to ragweed.)
*Fresh black walnut hulls, garlic, gentian root, fresh ginger root, neem leaves, and quassia bark all help to rid your body of parasites, a common problem for people with CFS.
*Teas brewed from burdock root, dandelion, and red clover promote healing by cleansing your blood and lymphatic system, as well as enhancing immune function. Combine or alternate these herbal teas, and drink 4-6 cups daily.
*Skullcap and valerian root improve sleep.
*Milk thistle protects your liver.
*Olive leaf extract has antibiotic and antiviral properties, and helps fight infections.
*Pau d’arco, taken in capsule or tea form, is good for treating candida infection.
*Eat a well-balanced diet of 50% organic raw foods and fresh “live” juices. Your diet should consist mostly of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, plus raw nuts, seeds, skinless turkey, and some deep-water fish. These quality foods supply nutrients to renew energy and build immunity.
*Add some form of acidophilus to your diet, and regularly eat soured products like yogurt and kefir. Many people with chronic fatigue syndrome also are infected with candida. Acidophilus helps keep candida under control.
*Don’t eat shellfish, fried foods, junk foods, processed foods; stimulants like coffee, tea, and soft drinks; sugar; and products containing yeasts and/or white flour, like bread and pasta. You may find this difficult – people with fatigue generally have cravings for sugar and carbohydrate products, and could also develop a craving for alcohol – but it’s important.
*Make sure your bowels move daily, and add fiber to your diet.
*Take chlorophyll in tablet form or get it from the liquid of vegetables, like a “green drink” from leafy vegetables or wheatgrass.
*Take a protein supplement from a vegetable source between meals.
*Get plenty of rest, and make sure you don’t overexert yourself. Moderate exercise may be helpful. Deep breathing exercises in particular are recommended.
*Avoid chocolate, soft drinks, caffeine, and highly processed foods. These foods deplete your body of magnesium, which leads to fatigue. Magnesium is important for people with CFS.
*Don’t smoke, and avoid secondhand smoke. This can make symptoms worse.
*Don’t take aspirin.
*Get some exercise, but be careful not to overdo the duration or the intensity. Doing too much can lead to short-term pain and further fatigue.
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