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Health Information For Teens
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complicated disease for doctors to diagnose — and even fully understand.
CFS is a physical condition, but it can also affect a person psychologically. This means that someone with CFS may feel physical symptoms, such as being very tired and weak (extreme fatigue), headaches, or dizziness. But the person may also notice emotional symptoms, such as a loss of interest in favorite activities.
To make it even more complicated, different people with CFS can have different symptoms. And the symptoms of CFS often are similar those of other health conditions, like mono, Lyme disease, or depression. And the symptoms can vary over time, even in the same person.
This makes treating the illness complicated because no single medicine or treatment can address all the possible symptoms.
There’s a long list of possible symptoms that someone with chronic fatigue syndrome can have. The most common ones include:
Scientists have been researching chronic fatigue syndrome for many years, but they still don’t know for sure what causes it.
Many doctors believe that the way some conditions interact within the body and mind might leave some people at risk for CFS. For example, if someone has a
and is under a lot of stress, the combination of these two things might make them more likely to develop CFS.
These things are believed to interact with each other in this way, putting some people at risk for CFS:
Chronic fatigue syndrome can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, but is most common in people in their forties or fifties. It’s very rare in kids. A few teens do get CFS, and it affects more girls than guys.
Sometimes different people in the same family get CFS. This may be because the tendency to develop CFS is genetic.
Right now, there’s no test to tell if someone has chronic fatigue syndrome. Doctors ask a lot of questions (about a person’s
and the health of family members, medicines, allergies, smoking and drinking habits, etc.). They also will do a thorough physical exam.
Doctors also usually order blood, urine (pee), or other tests to check for conditions that cause similar symptoms. They may send a person to see other specialists (such as a sleep specialist or a neurologist) to help with the diagnosis.
A doctor may suggest meeting with a psychologist or a therapist who can see whether mental health disorders might contribute to or mask CFS.
There’s no known cure for chronic fatigue syndrome. But experts say that these lifestyle changes can help:
Meeting regularly with a therapist or counselor can help in CFS treatment. (So can getting involved in a support group for people with CFS.) The main goals of therapy are to help people cope with the illness and to change negative or unrealistic thoughts or feelings into positive, realistic ones.
Having a positive feeling that you can get better is very helpful. Therapy and support groups can also help teens with CFS and their parents deal with the academic or social challenges brought on by the illness, such as missed school, falling grades, or withdrawal from friends and social situations.
Doctors may suggest over-the-counter or prescription medicines for some of these symptoms.
Most important, don’t give up. Having chronic fatigue syndrome can be hard. But for most people, the symptoms are most severe in the beginning. Later, they may come and go. Teens with CFS generally get better faster and recover more completely than adults do. Most teens get partial or full recovery within 5 years after symptoms began.
It’s important to keep a positive approach to getting well and to not look for the reason why you have CFS. People who take action and stay positive can have a good outcome.
If you suffer from a chronic illness, you know it can be anything but fun. But you can become better informed and more involved in your care. Here are tips to help you deal.
Your best resource for health information and advice is your doctor – the person who knows you, your medical history, and accurate medical information to answer your questions.
It’s sometimes called “the kissing disease,” but kissing is just one of the ways that someone can catch mono.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that affects some people and appears at the same time each year.
Getting the right amount of exercise can rev up your energy levels and even help you to feel better emotionally. Find out why.
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain in a person’s muscles, joints, and other soft tissues. Find out how doctors tell if a person has fibromyalgia and what can be done to treat it.
Lyme disease can be treated if it’s caught early. Find out what causes it, how it’s treated, and how to prevent it.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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