The survey also found:
- 41% work high-risk hours, at least occasionally.
- 39% have trouble remembering things at work because of fatigue.
- 31% commute 30 minutes or more, which exacerbates the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel.
- 27% have trouble making decisions because of fatigue.
- 10% do not get regular rest breaks.
Some individuals have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and some symptoms can be treated or managed. The treatment might provide relief for some patients with CFS but not others. However, learning new ways to manage activity can also be helpful.
1. SLEEP PROBLEMS
People with CFS often feel less refreshed and restored after sleep than they did before they became ill. Common sleep complaints include difficulty falling or staying asleep, extreme sleepiness, intense and vivid dreaming, restless legs, and nighttime muscle spasms.
Good sleep habits are important for all people, including those with CFS. Some common tips for good sleep are:
- Start a regular bedtime routine with a long, calming wind-down period. (Perhaps a warm bath with lavender salts?)
- Go to bed at same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning.
- Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes in total during the day. (Set your smartphone alarm, for convenience)
- Remove all TVs, computers, phones, and gadgets from the bedroom. (My TV broke in my bedroom and it was not replaced. Have slept much better since).
- Use the bed only for sleep and sex and not for other activities (avoid reading, watching TV, listening to music, or using phones).
- Control noise, light, and temperature (The body rests better in cooler temperatures).
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and large meals before bedtime. (I stop caffeine at 3 PM and even pass up on yummy chocolate desserts when dining out).
- Avoid exercise right before going to bed. Light exercise and stretching earlier in the day, at least four hours before bedtime, might improve sleep.
When people try these techniques but are still unable to sleep, their doctor might recommend taking medicine to help with sleep. S/he might suggest over the counter medications, first, and perhaps a prescription sleep medicine, starting at the smallest dose and using for the shortest possible time.
People with CFS may have deep pain in their muscles and joints. They might also have headaches (typically pressure-like) and soreness of their skin when touched.
It is important to talk with a healthcare provider before trying any medication. Doctors may first recommend trying over-the-counter pain-relievers, like acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. If these do not provide enough pain relief, patients may need to see a pain specialist.
Other pain management methods include stretching and movement therapies, gentle massage, heat, toning exercises, and water therapy for healing. Acupuncture, when done by a licensed practitioner, might help with pain for some patients.
3. DEPRESSION, STRESS, AND ANXIETY
Adjusting to a chronic, debilitating illness sometimes leads to other problems, including depression, stress, and anxiety. Many people with CFS develop depression during their illness. When present, depression or anxiety should be treated with the help of a healthcare professional because some drugs used to treat depression have other effects that might worsen other CFS symptoms and cause side effects.
Some people with CFS might benefit from trying techniques like deep breathing and muscle relaxation, massage, and movement therapies (such as stretching, yoga, and tai chi). These can reduce stress and anxiety, and promote a sense of well-being.
4. DIZZYNESS AND LIGHTHEADEDNESS
Some people with CFS might also have symptoms that are triggered when-or made worse by-standing or sitting upright. These symptoms can include:
- Frequent dizziness and lightheadedness
- Changes in vision (blurred vision, seeing white or black spots)
- Feeling like your heart is beating too fast or too hard, fluttering, or skipping a beat
For individuals with these symptoms, their doctor may check their heart rate and blood pressure, and may recommend they see a specialist, like a cardiologist or a neurologist.
5. MEMORY AND CONCENTRATION PROBLEMS
Memory aids, like organizers and calendars, can help with memory problems. For people with CFS who have concentration problems, some doctors have prescribed stimulant medications, as a last resort. Strategies that do not involve use of medications and might be helpful to some people are:
- Balanced diet. A balanced diet is important for everyone’s good health and would benefit a person with or without any chronic illness.
- Nutritional supplements. Doctors might run tests to see if patients lack any important nutrients and might suggest supplements to try. Doctors and patients should talk about any risks and benefits of supplements, and consider any possible interactions that may occur with prescription medications. Follow-up tests to see if nutrient levels improve can help with treatment planning.
- Complementary therapies. Complementary therapies, like acupuncture, meditation, gentle massage, deep breathing, relaxation therapy, yoga, or tai chi, might be helpful to increase energy and decrease pain.
Important note: Patients should talk with their doctors about all potential therapies because many treatments that are promoted as cures for CFS are unproven, often costly, and could be dangerous.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. The information provided on this website is NOT intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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