Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome -- CFIDS

WHAT IS CFIDS/CFS?

CFIDS/CFS is an illness believed to be a failure of the immune system to down-regulate itself after an infection. It doesn't matter what caused the initial infection -- antibiotics won't help cure it. Many PWCs (Person with CFIDS/CFS) became ill after root canals, bronchitis, flu, or surgery.

When the immune system kicked in to help the person get better, it never shut off, leaving its victims with constant fatigue and a variety of other maladies. After going from doctor to doctor to find out what's wrong with them, PWC's begin to wonder if it's all in their heads. It's not. You just have to find the right physician who understands and can help you. Please don't feel you're not sick -- you are. And it's not called the "Yuppie Flu" anymore -- anyone from any background can get it, not just "yuppies."

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What Works For Me

When I got CFS over 10 years ago, I was a mess. Over the years, I've found a combination of supplements, plus Synthroid (I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in 1998) that work for me. Remember, every PWC is different, so what works for me may not work for you.

But here's what I take - and *always* consult your doctor before taking any of these!

200mg Co-Enzyme Q10
500mg Vitamin C
200mcg Chromium Picolinate
500mg L-Lysine
.075mg Synthroid

I also have switched to a high protein, low carbohydrate, low fat diet. I have lost 20 pounds so far and feel much better than I did before, so I think this helped me tremendously with my CFS. However, I do still have to take naps when I overdo (which happens more often than not - when I feel really good, I do way too much, LOL).

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Who gets CFIDS/CFS?

Unfortunately, women seem to be the ones most often diagnosed with it, twice as many as men, and the majority are in their 20's and 30's. A theory is that many men with CFIDS/CFS don't step forward because they're embarassed.

Read an article about CFIDS by Jayne Hitchcock at Listening to CFIDS. This article is about Jayne's personal experience with CFS -- she has it.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CFIDS/CFS?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has an official list of symptoms for physicians to use when diagnosing CFIDS/CFS.

    They are:
  1. Persistent fatigue
  2. Sore throat
  3. Muscle weakness
  4. Headaches
  5. Depression
  6. Inability to concentrate
  7. Mild fever
  8. Lymph node swelling
  9. Muscle aches
  10. Joint pain
  11. Forgetfulness
  12. Sleep disturbance

You must have eight of the above symptoms for at least six months. Although this list isn't sketched in granite, the medical community now has something to go by. Some PWC's have all these symptoms, others don't have the "required" eight. But if your physician is sharp enough, they'll know whether you're a good candidate for CFIDS/CFS. Also, a blood test for CMV (Cytometalogical Virus) and EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) can help your physician -- high titers are a strong indication you could have CFIDS/CFS.

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A Short History of CFIDS/CFS

There have been outbreaks of Chronic Fatigue-like illness for hundreds of years all over the world. Documented cases have appeared in primarily cooler countries such as England, Scotland, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia. These outbreaks were given different names such as: Postviral fatigue syndrome; English sweats; muscular rheumatism; chronic mononucleosis-like syndrome; Royal Free disease; Icelandic disease; Addington's disease; Akureyri disease; chronic hyper-fatigability syndrome; and benign myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). The most recent epidemic was in Incline Village, Nevada, when a large portion of the population came down with an unusual illness in 1984. Drs. Daniel Peterson and Paul Cheney treated many of these patients and in 1985 notified the CDC to investigate. The CDC initially denied there was an epidemic, but later claimed they suspected it was connected to the Epstein-Barr virus. The CDC later retracted this, since tests indicated the presence of other viruses as well, which may or may not have caused the epidemic. Soon, the illness began to appear in other parts of the U.S. Finally in 1992, the CDC recognized CFIDS/CFS as an epidemic illness. Now CFIDS/CFS affects just over one percent of the nation's population, or about three million people.

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For more information about CFS/CFIDS, email Jayne Hitchcock.