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A Guide To Chronic Fatigue Syndrome And Fibromyalgia
Many people have a hard time distinguishing between fibromyalgia, also known as FM, and chronic fatigue syndrome, especially because the symptoms of both diseases are very similar. Even doctors and experts still can’t say for sure whether CFS, short for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and FM are two different diseases with similar symptoms, separate aspects of one disorder, or two completely different diseases.
The issues surrounding fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome became even more unclear after an FM/CFS expert published his findings in a publication of the National Fibromyalgia Association in September 2002. According to the findings of Dr. Charles W Lapp About 70% of FM sufferers are also eligible. for CFS, and about the same percentage of CFS patients also show symptoms of FM.
Definition of FM and CFS
Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by chronic musculoskeletal pain (especially in tender points such as the spine, neck, hips and shoulders), insomnia and fatigue. Although it is not clear what causes such a disease, it is believed that nutritional deficiencies and problems with hypothalamic and immune functions may aggravate or trigger the syndrome.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, on the other hand, is characterized by severe fatigue lasting at least six months. CFS sufferers also experience muscle and joint pain, sore throat, restless sleep and general malaise after physical activity. Sometimes, especially after strenuous activity, CFS patients experience temporary loss of concentration, cognitive ability, and memory.
Similarities between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Syndrome
As already mentioned, both diseases have quite similar symptoms. If you think you have one of these diseases, you should consult with several doctors. A doctor experienced in infectious diseases might think of your symptoms as chronic fatigue syndrome, while a pain and rehabilitation doctor might think of your symptoms as FM.
The most common indications or symptoms in FM and CFS patients are joint and muscle pain, severe fatigue, inability to concentrate, memory loss, numbness, malaise and weakness. Meanwhile, clinical similarities between the two include restless sleep or insomnia, decreased levels of growth hormone and serotonin, and decreased blood flow in certain areas of the brain.
In addition to similar symptoms, both diseases are also more common in women than in men. Women are about eight times more susceptible to FMS than men. Both diseases also occur more often in adults than in children.
Differences between CFS and FM
Although patients with both conditions experience muscle pain and fatigue, the degree or severity of both symptoms will help differentiate chronic fatigue syndrome patients from fibromyalgia patients. People who experience predominantly debilitating fatigue suffer from CFS, and those whose main symptom is chronic joint and muscle pain have FM. Another big difference is that CFS is caused or triggered by an infectious disease like the flu. Hand FM is usually triggered by injuries, surgeries, accidents, or some type of physical trauma.
How are CFS and FM diagnosed?
Unlike some diseases where lab, blood, and X-ray findings help determine the disease, both FM and CFS can be determined based on medical history and clinical findings alone. If you think you are suffering from one of these diseases, you should be more specific in describing your feelings. It is important to tell your doctor everything, even the smallest discomfort or changes in your body, because these little things will be of great help in diagnosing the disease.
Management of FM and CFS
Since there is no known cure for fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, doctors usually focus on treating the symptoms or triggers or causes of the disease. Given that there is no definitive cure for either disease, the best thing you can do if you have CFS, FM, or both is to manage the disease. Here are some tips that might help:
Know your disease
The first thing you should do when you are diagnosed with either of these two conditions is to do your research and learn as much as you can about your condition. It would be easier for you and your doctor to communicate and discuss the disease and possible treatment plans or options if you have some level of knowledge about the disease. The Internet, local libraries, and newspapers and magazines can help you learn more about FM and CFS.
Eat healthy and get plenty of rest
It is very important for people who suffer from both CFS and FM to eat a well-balanced diet, especially because some illnesses can trigger them. In addition, certain foods can make your symptoms worse, for example too much caffeine can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Adequate rest and sleep can also help alleviate some symptoms such as depression, stress and restless sleep.
Laugh and have fun
Stress and depression can only make things worse. Therefore, you should be happy more often. Remember that sometimes laughter is the best medicine.
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