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Recognizing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), or myalgic encephalomyelitis is characterized by extreme fatigue for six months or more in the absence of any other illnesses. Signs and symptoms include irritability, difficulty concentrating, struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep, sore throat, bodily aches and pain, weakness, gastrointestinal distress, and abnormal heartbeat. Fatigue remains unresolved despite a full night of sleep.

Approximately more than two million Americans suffer from CFS, a long-term illness without a current cure. Its causes are unclear, with research pointing to infection, genetics, or physical/emotional stress. Common day-to-day activities like showering or getting dressed result in profound exhaustion. Energy crashes occur as the patient struggles to recover from overexertion.

With such a poorly understood illness, a significant need exists for more clinical studies and increased data on minority race populations. Although mainly a disease seen in white adults 40 to 60 years old, CFS affects patients of all ages and backgrounds. The diagnosis is less prevalent among children than adolescents. Patients go without treatment partially due to being undiagnosed or underdiagnosed.

Mitochondria produces more than 90 percent of the human body's energy used by cells to carry out their jobs. In the case of mitochondrial dysfunction, less energy is produced, preventing the cells from doing their jobs properly. Prescription medication to treat the pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression associated with chronic fatigue syndrome can provide relief, but a more holistic approach is required to treat CFS.

Acupuncture, a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine, is used for pain alleviation and to improve mental focus. Stress management through biofeedback involves using electronic measurements of bodily responses like breathing and relaxing techniques to analyze them. Intravenous nutrient therapy replenishes vitamins and boosts energy. Gentle exercise, beginning slowly and lightly, such as yoga, stretching, or walking assists in easing gastrointestinal discomfort. Maintaining a journal of pain frequency and severity, activities and how energy levels are affected, daily caffeine intake, and its impact on sleep is recommended.

Roman E. Finn, M.D. is a holistic and integrative practitioner of traditional medicine in modern ways. The Center for Integrative and Traditional Medicine. in Paramus. uses a multidisciplinary approach, including licensed physicians, massage therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, and acupuncturists to deliver well-rounded care with a mix of modern medicine and holistic, natural therapies. For consultations, call 201-291-0401 or visit

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