Thursday, October 15, 2015

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a challenging disease

Nowadays, many diseases which had threatened the human kind have perished. We conquered lots of foes to prolong the life. Nevertheless, the majority of the illnesses are not cured with modern medicine. Of some diseases, even the cause or concept are still unidentified. On of these illnesses is chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

When I saw the name for the first time, I was a high school student. I felt it funny, to be honest. I imagined a person who was always exhausted. This image was not so wrong, and it is the core of this terrible disease.

Once you have this disease, you will feel tired, weary, or depressed. Patients often complain weakness, slight fever, or throat pain. There are almost no particular objective abnormality detected with clinical examination. This fact makes CFS difficult to be understood. There has been no effective treatment strategies against CFS so far. Furthermore, what causes this agony is still in the deep mist. It is suggested not a few patients are yet to be diagnosed properly. Some patients are misidentified as malingering, enhancing their suffering.

The Atlantic: The Tragic Neglect of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Recently, some findings are focused about the etiology of CFS. Inflammation in the brain was observed in some patients. In the UK, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) has been adopted as the official name of this disease. Also in Japan, the use of ME is spreading.

Viral infection is preceding to the onset of CFS in some patients. Considering this phenomenon, some researchers believe that the cause of CFS is a kind of virus. I have seen a couple of patients who gained CFS like symptoms after common cold.

You should be cautious that, depressive disorder has to be excluded as the cause of fatigue when diagnosing CFS, whereas depression can be combined with CFS. Some people with CFS may call for a psychiatrist because they suspect themselves to be depressed. Fortunately, or not, patients hesitate to consult with a psychiatrist in Japan. So, I think it is rare that patients with CFS are misdiagnosed as depression by a psychiatrist. On the other hand, it is likely that patients with CFS fall to depression. In this case, psychiatrists have to collaborate other physicians to treat the patient appropriately.

Further research is needed to clarify the substance of CFS, and other many diseases. I am happy if I can participate in these attempts.

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